Rack of lamb with sweet potato

Standing at the checkout of a supermarket in London with a full trolley, I asked one of my daughters what she wanted for dinner. “Well, daddy, can we start with some roasted asparagus followed by a rack of lamb with that port sauce and some sweet potato in their jackets”. Of course she used her loudest voice and parents across the store were aghast that such a young child could eat what they considered to be such a sophisticated meal.

The truth is what makes a meal like this sophisticated is that we wouldn’t automatically think of cooking it for our children. Why ever not? It is simplicity itself, wholesome and absolutely yummy.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Start to Table: 80 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy


  • A rack of lamb, trimmed
  • Sweet potato
  • Asparagus
  • 2 shallots (sliced)
  • 4 cups of port
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups of chicken or lamb broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon


  • Skillet
  • 2 roasting pans
  • Small saucepan


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place your potatoes on a tray and into the oven. Depending on the size, they should take anywhere between 40 minutes and an hour to cook. You will know when they are done when a sharp knife passes easily into the flesh.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and lightly brown the shallots.
  4. Add the port and broth and slowly reduce by half. If you haven’t broth, don’t worry… just add more port! Careful with this bit. Before you know it, all the liquor can be gone. I tend to get to a rolling boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer and let it reduce slowly while the rest is cooking. Just be sure to check it from time to time.
  5. Prep the asparagus by removing the woody stalks and, if you like, peeling away the outer skin (I do this only with the very thick stalks where the skin can be a little tough).
  6. Place on a baking tray, coat in some olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Set them aside for now.
  8. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet.
  9. Season your lamb and then sear a minute or two (fat side down) and then turn over.
  10. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
  11. Place in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes for medium rare.
  12. Remove and allow to rest under some foil. Reduce the oven temperature back to 350°F.
  13. Put the asparagus in the oven for no more than 10 minutes, turning once during the cooking.
  14. While the asparagus is cooking and the potatoes are on their last legs (if they are done early, by the way, just take them out and loosely cover with foil to keep warm), check the sauce and sieve into a warm jug. Slice the rack of lamb moments before you remove the vegetables and plate up!
  15. Presentation is up to you. I like giving everyone their own potato which they open and coat with a little butter and salt. You can scoop out the flesh and make a sweet potato mash which might present more attractively for those who are conscious of such things.
  16. I slice the rack and serve at least three chops per person with just a little port sauce drizzled over and the asparagus stacked up alongside. Don’t drown the meat. It’s a rich sauce. And whatever is left can come to the table for you and your guests to finish off.
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