Rack of Lamb
We prepare our racks in the traditional European method, which is to French the rib bones and to remove the chime bone. The term “French the bones” simply refers to the process whereby you remove the last inch or so of fat and meat from the ends of the rib bones so that when sliced, it appears that each chop has a little handle. The removal of the chime bone is done in such a way as not to cut into the meat. This is an important point, since when preparing the rack of lamb many butchers will use a bandsaw and cut through the chime bone (which is basically the vertebrae) in order to make slits so that the chops can be separated after cooking. The obvious problem with this of course is that when you cut into the bone you are also cutting through the meat, and thus allowing the natural juices to have a path to end up in the pan and not the lamb. So, done correctly, the chine bone is removed in one piece without cutting into the meat at all. This will leave the entire bottom of the rack intact, and in the first few minutes of cooking it will seal up and keep all these juices in. For serving, you can simply slice down between the bones. Traditionally people cut one bone each but there are no rules, so you could cut it into double chops by cutting beside every other bone. One suggestion is to look at the rack before you cook it and get a sense of the curvature of the bone; this will be a blessing when it comes time to cut it because when you look at it after it is cooked, it appears that the bones go straight down, when in fact there is a slight curve to them. Once you recognize this, it is a simple matter to slice them using a slight arc to the cut.