Crown Roast of Lamb With Couscous Stuffing and Pistachio-Mint Sauce Recipe

The reverse-sear method produces a crown roast of lamb that's evenly cooked and a showstopping centerpiece for a holiday meal.

A roasted rack of lamb topped with couscous stuffing.
Crown roast of lamb is all about presentation.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Cooking the roast at a low temperature, then finishing it with high heat, delivers more consistent results and reduces the chances of overcooking the roast.
  • Precooking the stuffing and adding it to the already-cooked crown roast allows you to focus on what's most important: getting perfectly cooked lamb that's browned all over.

Crown roast of lamb is one of the most impressive centerpieces for the holiday table, but its shape limits your cooking options. This recipe offers the best way to cook your roast without accidentally messing up such an expensive piece of meat.

December 2014

Update Block: This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 and lightly updated to guarantee best results. We added a touch of lemon juice to give the sauce some brightness.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Active: 40 mins
Resting Time:: 15 mins
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Serves: 4 to 5 servings

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Ingredients

  • 1 (3- or 4-pound; 1.4- to 1.8kg) crown roast of lamb, prepared by the butcher

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Stuffing (see note):

  • 1 cup (240ml) boiling chicken stock, low-sodium broth, or water

  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced (90g; 3.2 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, diced (100g; 3.5 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (70g, 2.5 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (165ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium onion, minced (260g; 9 ounces)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 4 cups warm cooked Israeli couscous (from about 2 cups; 305g dry), fluffed

  • 3/4 cup minced parsley

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce (see note):

  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves (1 ounce; 28g)

  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves and tender stems (1/2 ounce; 15g)

  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios (35g; 1.2 ounce)

  • 1 cup (237ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F (90°C) and position oven rack low enough to fit crown roast in oven. Generously season crown roast all over with salt and pepper. Place roast on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and roast until lamb registers 115°F (46°C) on an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loin, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, for the Stuffing: In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling stock or water over apricots, prunes, and pistachios and let steep until softened and plump, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and coriander, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until golden and soft, about 8 minutes. Drain dried fruit and pistachios of any excess liquid. In a large bowl, toss together Israeli couscous, apricots, prunes, pistachios, cooked onions, parsley, and remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the couscous mixture to keep warm.

  3. For the Sauce: Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, pulse mint, parsley, and pistachios until roughly chopped. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil and pulse until herbs and nuts are finely chopped. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup (180ml) olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Set aside.

  4. When lamb reaches 115°F (46°C), remove from oven. Increase oven to highest possible temperature (broil setting on some ovens, or about 500°F/260°C on others) and allow to heat fully. Cover lamb rib bones with foil. Roast lamb, checking temperature every 5 minutes and then more frequently as it approaches doneness, until lamb is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125 to 130°F (52 to 54°C) for medium-rare, or 130 to 135°F (54 to 57°C) for medium, about 10 minutes. Let lamb rest for 15 minutes.

  5. Stuff with warm couscous and serve, passing sauce at the table. To carve lamb, slice lamb between rib bones into chops.

Notes

The method used here for cooking the crown roast works no matter what the stuffing and sauce are. In fact, the stuffing and sauce in this recipe are entirely optional. Feel free to precook any stuffing you like, then stuff it into the finished roast right before serving. Or, skip the stuffing altogether.

Special equipment

Rimmed baking sheet; wire rack; instant-read thermometer; immersion blender, blender, or food processor

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1349 Calories
111g Fat
42g Carbs
48g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 1349
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 111g 143%
Saturated Fat 26g 128%
Cholesterol 168mg 56%
Sodium 715mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 48g
Vitamin C 40mg 200%
Calcium 109mg 8%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 1078mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)