How to Master Balsamic Braised French Rack of Lamb on Your Stovetop

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Lamb: Balsamic Glaze & Fluffy Dill Rice
March 5, 2024
Rating: 5.00

Hey everyone!

Looking for a show-stopping main dish that’s surprisingly easy to whip up? This Balsamic Braised Lamb Rack is your answer!  It’s perfect for Easter or any other special occasion, but trust me, it’s so good, you might just want to make it for a cozy weeknight dinner too.

What is Lamb French Rack?

Lamb French Rack is highly regarded for its tender, juicy meat and delicate flavor. It can be cooked using various methods, including roasting, grilling, and searing. The natural marbling and fat content in the meat contribute to its succulence and rich taste, while the bones add depth of flavor during cooking. Because of its impressive presentation and gourmet appeal, Lamb French Rack is often featured as the centerpiece of special occasions and fine dining experiences.

Balsamic Braised French Rack of Lamb

Here’s what makes this recipe so awesome:

  • Melt-in-your-mouth lamb: We’re talking slow-cooked perfection thanks to a special braising technique. It’s so tender, you’ll practically need a napkin just to catch the happy tears.
  • Easy prep, big wow factor: Don’t be intimidated by the fancy name! This dish is actually super simple to make. You only need 10 minutes of hands-on time to brown the lamb, and then the oven does the rest of the work.
  • Elegant yet approachable: This recipe is sure to impress your guests with its restaurant-worthy presentation, but don’t worry, it’s still totally doable for home cooks of all levels. ‍‍
  • Versatile for any occasion: Whether you’re hosting a festive holiday dinner or a cozy family gathering, this lamb rack is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. It brings a touch of warmth and comfort to any table.
Balsamic Braised French Rack of Lamb

Q&A Section:

Lamb French Rack vs. Lamb Shank

1. What is Lamb French Rack, and how does it differ from Lamb Shank?

Lamb French Rack :

Lamb French Rack is prized for its tender, juicy meat and delicate flavor. It boasts natural marbling and fat content, enhancing succulence, while the bones contribute to depth of flavor during cooking. This cut is versatile, suitable for various cooking methods, including roasting, grilling, and searing.

Lamb Shank :

Lamb Shank, on the other hand, comes from the lower section of the leg. It’s known for its rich, intense flavor and requires slow cooking to achieve tenderness. Unlike the French Rack, which is typically served as a centerpiece due to its presentation, Lamb Shank shines in hearty stews and braised dishes.

2. Which cut is more suitable for special occasions?

Lamb French Rack :

Lamb French Rack is often featured as the centerpiece of special occasions and fine dining experiences due to its impressive presentation and gourmet appeal. Its tender texture and elegant appearance make it a top choice for celebrations.

Lamb Shank :

While Lamb Shank offers robust flavor and comforting richness, it’s better suited for cozy family dinners or intimate gatherings. Its slow-cooking nature lends itself well to hearty, soul-warming dishes perfect for colder months.

3. How do cooking methods differ between Lamb French Rack and Lamb Shank?

Lamb French Rack :

Cooking Lamb French Rack typically involves faster methods such as roasting, grilling, or searing. The goal is to preserve its tenderness and delicate flavor while achieving a beautifully caramelized exterior.

Lamb Shank :

Lamb Shank benefits from slow-cooking techniques like braising or stewing to break down its tougher fibers and fully develop its flavor. This extended cooking time allows the meat to become tender and infused with the rich, aromatic sauce.

4. Can the two cuts be used interchangeably in recipes?

While both cuts offer distinct flavor profiles and textures, they can sometimes be used interchangeably in recipes with adjustments to cooking times and techniques. Lamb French Rack lends itself well to elegant presentations and quicker cooking methods, while Lamb Shank excels in dishes that benefit from longer, slow-cooking processes.

Now, let’s talk ingredients! You’ll need some basic pantry staples and a few special touches:

  • Lamb racks: The star of the show! Look for “frenched” lamb racks, which means the excess fat has been removed for a cleaner presentation.
  • Olive oil: For browning the lamb and veggies.
  • Veggies: We’re using a classic combo of red onions, celery, and carrots for added flavor and texture.
  • Garlic: Because garlic makes everything better!
  • Balsamic vinegar: The key ingredient! Opt for dark chocolate balsamic vinegar for its rich, complex flavor.
  • Red wine: Use your favorite red wine to add depth and body to the sauce.
  • Chicken broth: Keeps the lamb nice and moist during braising.
  • Lemon thyme: The perfect herb pairing for lamb. If you don’t have any, rosemary is a great substitute.
  • Turmeric powder, salt, and pepper: To round out all the delicious flavors.

So, are you ready to give this amazing recipe a try? I promise you won’t regret it!

Ready to turn simple ingredients into a restaurant-worthy dish? Here’s how to braise your lamb rack for tender, flavorful perfection:

  1. Prep the Lamb: First, rub the lamb racks with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You want to make sure they’re nice and seasoned for maximum flavor.
  2. Brown it Up: Heat a large pot that comfortably holds both lamb racks. Once it’s hot, add the lamb racks and brown them on all sides. This step creates a delicious caramelized crust. Take the lamb out and set it aside for a moment.
  3. Sauté the Veggies: Pour the rest of the olive oil into the same pot and add the chopped onions and cook them for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Sprinkle in some turmeric powder for a touch of warmth and color.
  4. Add the Flavor Builders: Now, throw in the chopped celery and carrots, and cook them for another few minutes until softened. This creates a flavorful base for the braising liquid.
  5. Pour in the Goodness: One by one, add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir everything together to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. This is where the magic happens!
  6. Seasoning and Herbs: Don’t forget to add some more salt and pepper, and toss in the remaining lemon thyme. These will enhance the flavors of the lamb and veggies.
  7. Bring it All Back Together: Return the lamb racks to the pot, nestling them snugly among the veggies. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about an hour.
  8. Flip and Finish: After 30 minutes, gently flip the lamb racks so they cook evenly. Continue simmering uncovered for another 30 minutes.
  9. Serve Up Sizzling Success: Once the lamb is cooked through and beautifully tender, turn off the heat. You want to leave some broth in the pot – that’s what makes the vegetables extra delicious! Immediately slice and serve your tender, succulent lamb on a bed of flavorful dill rice or your chosen side dish.

Here are some extra tips:

  • Rice Pairing: I love pairing this dish with a flavorful dill rice. You can find the recipe at the bottom of this post.
  • Other Options: Mashed potatoes, creamy risotto, or roasted vegetables are also fantastic options.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.

With these simple steps, you’ll be braising lamb like a pro in no time!

Make it Your Own: Tips and Variations

Spice it Up! While lemon thyme is a classic pairing with lamb, feel free to experiment with different herbs. Rosemary, oregano, or even a mix of Provence herbs can add a new twist to the flavor profile.

Balsamic Boost: If your balsamic vinegar isn’t as thick and syrupy as you’d like, don’t worry! Simply reduce it in a saucepan over low heat until it reaches that desired consistency. This will concentrate the flavor and add a richer texture to the sauce.

Wine Choice: The type of red wine you choose can significantly impact the final flavor. For a full-bodied and deeper taste, opt for a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. If you prefer a lighter and more subtle touch, choose a Pinot Noir.

Slow Cooker Savior: Short on time? No problem! This recipe can be easily adapted for a slow cooker. Simply prepare the lamb and add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Set it on low for 6-8 hours and let it do its magic!

Bonus Tip: Traditional balsamic vinegar has a thick, syrupy consistency, similar to glaze. If your balsamic vinegar is thinner, like red wine vinegar, be sure to reduce it as mentioned above for the best results. This thicker balsamic is perfect for marinades, drizzling over various dishes, or even adding a touch to salads and pizza.

Equipment Checklist:

Notes for Success:

  • Balsamic Boost: If your balsamic vinegar is thin, don’t worry! Simply reduce it in a saucepan over low heat until it reaches a syrupy consistency. This concentrates the flavor and creates the desired texture for the dish. Authentic balsamic vinegar will naturally have this thicker consistency.
  • Herb Exploration: Feel free to experiment with different herbs! While thyme is used in this recipe, rosemary, oregano, or sage can all add unique flavor profiles.
  • Wine Selection: The type of red wine you choose can impact the final taste. Opt for a full-bodied wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for a deeper flavor, or choose a lighter red wine like Pinot Noir for a more subtle touch.
  • Slow Cooker Option: Short on time? No problem! This recipe can be easily adapted for a slow cooker. Simply prepare the lamb and add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Set it on low for 6-8 hours and let it work its magic.
  • Side Dish Versatility: This lamb dish pairs well with a variety of sides. Consider serving it with mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, flavorful risotto, or even a refreshing green salad.
  • Meat Substitutions: While lamb is the star of the show, you can also try this recipe with beef short ribs or pork shanks. Be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Garnish for Elegance: Before serving, add a touch of fresh lemon thyme or lemon zest for a beautiful and refreshing garnish.

Bonus Tip: For a special touch, try the dilly rice recipe mentioned in the notes. This flavorful rice dish pairs perfectly with the lamb and adds a unique layer of texture and complexity.

Balsamic Braised Lamb Rack: A Flavorful Feast

This recipe takes you through braising lamb racks to tender perfection, resulting in a dish that’s both elegant and comforting. Gather your ingredients and follow these easy steps:

How to Make Balsamic Braised French Rack of Lamb on Your Stovetop

5 from 1 vote
Discover the delicious world of braised lamb! This easy recipe guides you through making a mouthwatering and impressive dish. Tender lamb is slow-cooked to perfection with flavorful ingredients like balsamic vinegar, wine, garlic, and lemon thyme. All you need are simple steps and expert tips to create this show-stopping meal!
Servings 3
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 racks of lamb frenched (around 2 pounds each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large red onion finely sliced
  • 1 cup celery finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
  • ¼  cup red wine your favorite kind
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth homemade is preferred
  • ¼ cup dried or fresh lemon thyme for rubbing on lamb and adding to broth


  • Prep the Veggies: Start by chopping the onions, celery, and carrots. Set them aside for later.
  • Season the Lamb: Rub the lamb racks with some olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper, and some lemon thyme. Let them sit for a few minutes while you prepare the next steps.
  • Brown the Lamb: Find a large pot that comfortably holds both lamb racks. Over medium-high heat, add the lamb and brown it on all sides for about 3 minutes per side. Once browned, remove the lamb and set it aside.
  • Sauté the Aromatics: Pour the rest of the olive oil into the same pot. Add the sliced onions and cook for 2 minutes, until they begin to soften. Sprinkle in a little turmeric powder and stir it in.
  • Add the Veggies and Garlic: Now, add the chopped celery, carrots, and minced garlic to the pot. Cook them for another 2 minutes, or until softened.
  • Deglaze and Season: Pour in the red wine, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth one by one. Stir everything well to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add more salt and pepper to taste, along with the remaining lemon thyme.
  • Simmer and Flip: Return the seasoned lamb racks to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about an hour. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, gently flip the lamb, and continue simmering uncovered for another 30 minutes.
  • Serve Up Sizzling Success: Once the lamb is cooked through and beautifully tender, turn off the heat. Leave some broth in the pot to keep the vegetables nice and juicy. Immediately slice and serve your tender, succulent lamb on a bed of flavorful dill rice or your chosen side dish.



  • This recipe pairs well with rice, mashed potatoes, or roasted vegetables.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • If your balsamic vinegar isn’t thick and syrupy, you can reduce it in a saucepan over low heat until it reaches the desired consistency.
Enjoy this delicious and flavorful Balsamic Braised Lamb Rack!

Simple Dill Rice with Crispy Crust (Tahdig)

This recipe adds a flavorful and textural twist to classic rice with the addition of fresh dill and a crispy bottom crust, inspired by the Persian dish Tahdig.
  • 3 cups long-grain white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Naan or any flatbread (optional)
  1. Rinse the Rice: Thoroughly rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch and helps prevent the rice from becoming sticky.
  2. Cook the Rice: In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the rinsed 3 cups of rice and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the rice uncovered for about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain and Season: Drain the rice in a colander. While it’s draining, add the chopped fresh dill to the colander and mix it through the rice gently.
  4. Crisp Up the Bottom: In the same large pot used for cooking the rice, add the olive oil or butter. Heat it over low heat until melted. If using, place the naan or flatbread in the bottom of the pot, pressing down gently to create a single layer.
  5. Layer and Cook: Add the drained rice with dill on top of the naan (if using) or directly to the pot. Cover the pot tightly with a lid. Cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the bottom has formed a crispy crust.
  6. Serve: Immediately flip the rice onto a plate or serving dish so that the crispy crust becomes the top layer. Serve the rice alongside your lamb rack and enjoy!
  • If you don’t have naan or flatbread, you can use sliced potatoes for a similar crispy base.
  • Adjust the amount of dill to your preference.


Calories: 1466kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 52gFat: 134gSaturated Fat: 53gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 61gCholesterol: 252mgSodium: 291mgPotassium: 1030mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 7280IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 5mg
Author: Marzi
Calories: 1466kcal
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Balsamic braised rack of lamb, braised lamb, french rack of lamb, Lamb recipe, lamb shanks

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag at @marzisgarden on Instagram and hashtag it #Marzis Garden

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products (including Amazon). I’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you! Regardless, I only link to products that I personally use on our homestead or believe in.

Join the Conversation

  1. LEYLA M says:

    Love this for my guests who are into delicious Mediterranean food. Thanks Marzi

    1. Glad you liked my recipe. Enjoy

  2. LEYLA M says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe

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