Lavender and Honey Lamb

May 22, 2008

Lavender and Honey Lamb

English lavender is apparently the best to use for cooking. The floral, pine like and slightly citrussy flowers combined with sweet honey and orange zest was a winner. A word of warning though, don’t go OTT on the lavender, it has similarities to rosemary and I suspect it will taste equally like perfume if you overuse it.

Lavender and Honey Lamb Recipe

1 rack of lamb, French trimmed
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers (depending on the size of your rack!), stripped from the stalks
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed with some sea salt
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7

Mix the garlic, lavender, orange zest and honey in a bowl.

Season the rack with pepper then heat a heavy based pan until very hot (until you can no longer hold your hand over it at a distance of 3″ or so for 3 seconds).

Put the lamb in the pan, fat side down and render down the fat for about 10 minutes then flip it over for 1 minute onto the bones side just to get some colour. Remove from the pan and set aside. Let the lamb come back to room temperature and then brush with the lavender mixture. Put in a roasting tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes then let rest for 15 for medium-rare lamb.

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    Reply Sophie May 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

    I’ve been meaning to try lavender with lamb for ages too but I’ve always been a bit wary about what kind of lavender to use. I figured if it was grown for smelling rather than eating it might be absolutely covered in lots of nasty pesticides. I’m intrigued to know if Chris bought organic lavender or special cooking lavender, or if it was the normal florists/smelly things shop type lavender?

    Whatever it was it sounds like it worked perfectly. Looks delicious!

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    Reply Helen May 22, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Hi Sophie, I am pretty sure this is organic lavender. I can’t remember the exact conversation but I know I wouldn’t have cooked with it otherwise. I do know however, that it is just ‘ordinary’ lavender, not a special type for cooking.

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    Reply Lizzie May 22, 2008 at 10:24 am

    This sounds really interesting. I first saw the use of lavender at Ros’s blog where she paired it with honey and duck. Seems quite strongly flavoured meat holds up well to it! Beautiful pics, as always.

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    Reply Peter May 22, 2008 at 10:36 am

    AHAHAHAHA, you made a rack of lamb too…splendid! I see that you added orange zest too…nicely done!

    The chops look succulent and lavender is definitely an exotic ingredient for cooking. Did ya eat these with your fingers ’cause I would.

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    Reply Helen May 22, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Lizzie – Thanks for directing me to Ros’s blog, I’m going to have a good look around.
    Peter – Is there any other way to eat them?!

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    Reply Peter G May 22, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Helen, I think I’m in love with this dish! Wow! I can smell it through the computer!…LOL This is good stuff…amazing!

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    Reply David Hall May 22, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    As always Helen – absolutely fantastic! I can almost taste this now and you have made me starving. Which isn’t good – I’m just about to leave for a 7 mile run!?


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    Reply Mag May 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Helen,
    Oh wow, I love lamb cutlets, I usually just place them on the grill, I never used lavender, but now I will defenitely use your recipe, it looks so good. Thanks.

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    Reply Fearless Kitchen May 22, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    This looks amazing. I love lavender, much to the Spouse’s chagrin. Your technique – rendering out some of the fat before adding the rub – is really interesting.

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    Reply Heather May 22, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    That sounds and looks wonderful. I make a similar sauce but use olive oil instead of vinegar.

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    Reply JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen May 22, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    WOW WOW WOW! This is true brilliance Helen! Amazing, fantastic genius!

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    Reply Terry B May 22, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Helen–You had me at lamb. But the honey and lavender sound like a wonderful combination, especially balanced with the garlic [and come on, how can you have lamb without garlic?].

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    Reply Wendy May 22, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Ooooooh, there’s lots of lavendar in my garden. This has to be tried out. 🙂

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    Reply Kalyn May 22, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    The lamb is gorgeous. I’m not sure how I feel about lavender though, I don’t like the smell that much.

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    Reply Jeanne May 22, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Oh wow, how gorgeous that looks! I love the taste of lavender – first had it many years ago on a game farm in South Africa and fell in love. And I think I need to get to the Ginger Pig for one of those racks of lamb – you’ve got my mouth watering now!

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    Reply Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy May 23, 2008 at 5:25 am

    I’m speechless! That lamb looks absolutely divine! I just bought a tin of culinary lavendar a few weeks ago without a clue as to what to make with it. This is it!

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    Reply nina May 23, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I have loads of lavender in my garden and I know that they have never been sprayed with anything except water so I will most definitely give this a go. Wow, the lamb is perfectly cooked!

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    Reply City Girl DC May 23, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Oh Helen, that lamb looks amazing! I love lamb but would never have thought of cooking it this way. Sounds terrific.

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    Reply The Phantom Chef May 23, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I did a similar recipe, but with blueberry – Lavender is fantastic and very aromatic It’s always a talking point when put in food

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    Reply We Are Never Full May 23, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I have to say, mint sauce (along w/ a bread sauce in close second) is one of the best things my English husband introduced me to. This looks really great. Love the idea of honey with the lamb.

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    Reply Helen May 24, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Peter G – You can smell it through the computer?! If only!
    David – You really are addicted to that running aren’t you?
    Mag – Do try lavender, it’s a wonderful and under used aromatic ingredient.
    Fearless Kitchen – Thanks, I definitely wanted to render some fat down first although next time I will cook it out even more. I like crispy fat, but not flabby.
    Heather – I see, so you make it more of a dressing than a sauce.
    Jenn – You are very kind, as ever!
    Terry B – How can you have lamb without garlic? Exactly! Classic combo.
    Wendy – You and your lovely garden! Let me know what you think of the lavender
    Kalyn – If you don’t like the smell, I can almost guarantee you won’t like the taste either, it tastes a lot like it smells!
    Jeanne – Yes! It’s delish. I’m going to be using lavender a lot more now.
    Susan – It’s a sign!
    Nina – Thanks, these timings worked perfectly, even though our oven is a touch temperamental.
    City Girl – Thanks!
    Phantom – I just checked out your version, very nice! I would never have thought to put it with blueberries. You are right, great talking point too.
    We are never full – They are great English condiments – classics!

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    Reply african vanielje May 25, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I’ve tried this before as we’ve always had lavender growing in our garden, luckily. And now I also have the Somerset Organic Lavender farm just down the road from where I live. Lavender has so many amazing culinary applications, and I agree with you, it is delicious with lamb and honey. My mouth is watering looking at your lovely dish. I wish I was sharing your sharing platter with you. The salad sounds gorgeous too.

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    Reply Heather May 26, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    It’s a pistou – the oil just holds it together (I don’t use that much).

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    Reply myfrenchkitchen May 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Your lamb looks absolutley divine!! And along with lavender, seasonal and perfect. Beautiful photo.

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    Reply matt wright June 4, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    This looks awesome!

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    Reply Jason June 11, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    That looks absolutely fabulous. I will try this recipe very soon hopefully.

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    Reply Yannis Mameletzis July 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I’m so making this for friends.

    Greeks love their lamb you know, but the lavender touch is ridiculously smart.

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    Reply James July 7, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    What an amazing combo. Lavender biscuits, lavender bread, now lavender lamb….. the possibilities are endless. Driving through the Snowshill Lavender fields as I traverse the Cotswolds is the most amazing sight when it’s in full bloom – especially set against the sunset. I know where I’ll be getting mine…..

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    Reply Kirsten June 13, 2009 at 8:30 am

    I have linked my travel blog to this site as I found this delicious recipe was worth a mention.
    My post is all about lavender so it fits perfectly.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

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