Red Wine Sauce Rack of Lamb

Red Wine Sauce Rack of Lamb on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
296 Calories
21g Fat
3g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 296
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 28%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 315mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 249mg 5%
*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.)

A rack of lamb always makes a fabulous dinner and an elegant centerpiece for a special occasion. Our succulent rack of lamb is roasted and served with an easy red wine and herb pan sauce that pairs beautifully with the gamy flavor of the lamb. The sauce is also delicious with side dishes like creamy mashed potatoes and silky risotto that soak up the sauce, making every bite simply delicious. Roasted Brussels sprouts or steamed green beans are great choices for a vegetable side.

Lamb is a delicious meat that has 23 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving (lean lamb)—lamb also has iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6 and B12. Find lamb that is locally raised and organically fed for greater flavor. Online butcher shops deliver great quality game to your doorstep, and local butchers always carry beautiful cuts that you can order in advance. The choice of frenching the racks is up to you, both presentations are great and equally flavorful.

For the red wine sauce, use a wine that you'd drink by the glass. The better the wine, the better the sauce. For the best flavor, use fresh and organic herbs if possible. Rosemary, thyme, and chives all pair deliciously with lamb. To find the perfect wine pairing, go for a bottle similar to the dry red wine you use for the sauce. If you use a good-quality pinot, merlot, or cabernet sauvignon for the sauce, the rack will go nicely with a similar type of wine.

"Lamb and red wine have to be a match made in heaven. This dish is an impressive and delicious dinner that can be made for any special occasion—I served mine over a cacio et pepe risotto!" —Kiana Rollins

Lamb with Red Wine Sauce/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Lamb:

  • 2 racks lamb

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Red Wine Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, or shallot

  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, or merlot

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or a dash of dried thyme

  • 1 cup unsalted or low-sodium beef stock

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

  • Kosher salt, to taste 

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Lamb

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Rack of lamb, salt, pepper and oil

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 F. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb generously with salt and pepper.

    Racks of lamb seasoned with salt and pepepr

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-proof, heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, place the racks of lamb in the skillet, meaty-side down.

    Rack of lamb in a pan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Sear the lamb until nicely browned on all sides.

    Rack of lamb cooking in a pan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the lamb to your liking, or until a meat thermometer registers 120 F to 125 F for rare, or 130 F to 135 F for medium-rare, 18 to 21 minutes (note that minimum safe doneness of at least 145 F or higher is recommended).

    Racks of lamb in a pan with a thermometer

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Remove the racks to a platter and tent loosely with foil. Reserve the skillet and pan drippings.

    Racks of lamb wrapped in aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prepare the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Red wine sauce ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Place the reserved skillet and pan drippings over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

    Lamb drippings and onions in a pan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Add the wine, rosemary, chives, and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat until the wine has reduced by about two-thirds.

    Wine, rosemary, chives, and thyme added to the onions in the pan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is reduced to about 3/4 cup.

    Beef stock added to the red wine sauce in the pan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Add the cold butter and and continue to stir until the butter has melted and the sauce is emulsified. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

    Butter added to the red wine sauce in a pan on a burner, with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Cut the rack of lamb into portions and serve with the red wine sauce.

    Red Wine Sauce Rack of Lamb on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Why Do I Need to Rest the Lamb?

Resting time is key to serving a perfectly cooked meat. When the muscle fibers are heated through cooking, the fibers firm up and a little bit of the water content gets pushed to the surface while most of it gets pushed inwards away from the heat. If you cut the meat once the cooking process is over, all the liquids will ooze into your cutting board. Allowing proper time after cooking for the moisture to redistribute into the meat makes it juicy. When the meat rests, its internal temperature may rise anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees or more. This is known as carryover cooking.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lamb Rack, Raw. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture

  2. Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Chart. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services