16 May2012

Dining out on Mother’s Day is usually not a good idea if you can cook a decent meal at home. I completely understand the desire to treat mom out to a wonderful meal, and frankly we benefit from this as many guests ended up at our restaurants, but for Mrs. MM and myself, we tend to do the opposite on Mother’s Day and stay in. :) This was our simple but delicious Mother’s Day lunch last Sunday.

Start out with a couple of racks of young lamb ribs, these ones sourced from S&L Fine Foods. These aren’t racks of lamb with the loins attached, just the meaty ribs. Place them in a heavy enameled or stainless steel pot, and cover with water.

Add a chopped onion or two, lots of fresh and dried bay leaves and some whole peppercorns and bring this to a very gentle simmer (not boil) and keep covered for say an hour or so until tender. This step will render a bit of fat from the lamb, and also, fully cook it. This is not one of those recipes where the lamb will be pink, it is fully cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, peel several potatoes and cut them into bite-sized cubes. Peel several shallots and add them to the poatoes whole. Add several segments of unpeeled garlic. Add just a LITTLE bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and toss with some fresh and dried herbs such as oregano, thyme and rosemary. Place these at the bottom of a roasting pan. Turn your oven on to 350F.

Once your lamb is tender in the simmering broth, take it out and dry it well on some paper towels. Sprinkle all of the surfaces of meat with salt and pepper (generously) as well as dried/fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary and drizzle some olive oil and rub this or brush this all over the surface of the meat. Place the meat on a roasting rack set OVER the potatoes and stick this all into the pre-heated oven.

Let this cook for say half an hour then add one more brushing of olive oil or oils from the pan if the meat looks like it needs it. If the meat isn’t browning enough, turn the heat up to 375F and return to the oven for say another 20 minutes or so. My total cooking time for this was 50 minutes, though frankly it could have stayed in another 10-20 minutes to render out a little more of the gorgeous layers of lamb fat.

A LOT of lamb fat will drip onto the potatoes, onions and garlic below, and this adds to their flavor… Toss the potatoes in this fat, then drain excess fat away and place your pototoes in a serving dish. Let your meat rest for 5-10 minutes before carving it.

Slice the meat into individual ribs and either place on a platter or plate them up, 3 ribs per diner, over some of the potatoes. I have noticed some chefs cut the ribs after the simmering stage, and roast them in hot oven or salamander so that all sides of each rib develop a dried crust. That works nicely if you have a high heat oven/salamander, but you risk losing most of the underlying juiciness of the ribs.

The potatoes with shallots and garlic was HEAVENLY. You could almost have a dish of that for lunch and no meat and it would have been very satisfying. Note the green salad in the background, meant to balance out all of the fat from the lamb. :)

Plated up with a small wedge of lemon. Squeeze the lemon all over the lamb and potatoes for that burst of citrus freshness and to cut some of the grease. I also sprinkled on some Maldon salt when I realized I undersalted the lamb. Remember, lamb needs a LOT of salt.

A relatively easy, delicious, slightly out of the ordinary dish for Mother’s Day lunch… or any lunch or dinner for that matter. :)



  1. natie says:

    Looks so tender and juicy,MM! Makes me want to run to the nearest rib-joint but I’m sure it will be dry and laden with too much sauce…

    May 16, 2012 | 7:12 am


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  3. David B says:

    i just love how you compose the pics–i can almost taste the lamb. ;-)

    May 16, 2012 | 7:22 am

  4. scott says:

    What a nice meal for your wife MM on a special day, It looks DELICIOUS!!!, still trying to find places here in Cebu where I can find good ingredients(meat, herbs, vegetables) and the local grocery stores are not the answer…any suggestions?

    May 16, 2012 | 7:38 am

  5. Guada says:

    Makes me want to check out S & L Fine Foods soon! Thanks…

    May 16, 2012 | 7:53 am

  6. Marketman says:

    scott, try the small weekend market at Banilad Town Center, there used to be a table or two there with very good herbs, grown up in Busay. Take a drive about 30 minutes into the Busay hills, and hit the roadside stands. Excellent local veggies, and their corn is the best in Cebu, a bit pricey at PHP12 or so each, but if fresh, very good. They also have flower farms in that area. For groceries, I find a lot of dry goods at Metro Ayala Center or Rustan’s in the same mall, but Rustan’s has an infuriatingly mercurial and unreliable line-up of imported items. Santis delicatessen from Manila (Werdenberg as wholesaler) is in Cebu, but not sure they sell retail. Tinderbox also carries some imported items you might be seeking. If really desperate, take a day trip to Manila, fill up coolers and stick them in air cargo at PAL, you could bring home a month’s worth of steaks, lamb, etc. and airfreight averages only PHP25 a kilo or so. While in Manila, you can hit other food places to stock up. Finally, there is an Italian wholesaler in Mandaue, I can’t recall the name, but Maybe if Susie B of Cebu chimes in, it is a place that carries decent pastas, canned tomatoes, olive oil, etc. Cebu isn’t great compared to Manila for ingredients, but trust me, it is MUCH MUCH better than it was 10 years ago. Oh, get a membership to S&R in the reclaimed area as well. :)

    May 16, 2012 | 8:12 am

  7. bakerwannabe says:

    This would also be good with a balsamic rosemary glaze. We just had braised lamb shanks with fingerling potatoes. But these ribs look soooooo much yummier.

    May 16, 2012 | 8:17 am

  8. Nadia says:

    I’ve never seen lamb sold here in Dumaguete so I’m wondering…would your recipe work just as well with pork ribs? Would I need to adjust the cooking time or temperature in the oven?

    May 16, 2012 | 8:39 am

  9. jakbkk says:

    very nice and delicious…i suppose you can try this with pork ribs as well…thanks.

    May 16, 2012 | 9:33 am

  10. Gerry says:

    Speaking of markets, there’s a news item today in the Inquirer that says that the Farmer’s Market in Cubao might be converted into condos. I hope if that happens that they transfer it to an equally accessible area. Sad to see it go though.

    May 16, 2012 | 10:46 am

  11. PITS, MANILA says:

    Uh-oh … the boys here should see this …

    May 16, 2012 | 11:09 am

  12. ohinuj says:

    This post made me hungry! I want to go get some lamb and potatoes now…

    May 16, 2012 | 11:25 am

  13. millet says:

    did just that with a rack of pork ribs the other day, but i did not simmer. i can almost smell the lamb from here!

    May 16, 2012 | 1:16 pm

  14. RobKSA says:

    somebody gave me a crock-pot that i have not used yet. can i use this crock-pot for this recipe? looks yummy, thanks for sharing MM as always!

    May 16, 2012 | 2:31 pm

  15. Faust says:

    perfect recipe, toss in some tomatoes, lettuce to complete the meal.

    May 16, 2012 | 2:47 pm

  16. Chinky says:

    Hi, MM. Is it alright for a home cook like me to visit S & L Foods? If ok, can you provide the address?

    May 16, 2012 | 7:08 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    Chinky, they have Brera delicatessen and Sinan’s butchery out front for retail customers. They are on Yakal Street, previous posts here and here and here.

    May 16, 2012 | 7:43 pm

  18. SuR-USA says:

    good inspiration; I’m with you on avoiding at all cost dining at high ‘Hallmark’ holidays. Trader Joes US carries frozen Australian lamb already frenched and pre-dressed with olive oil garlic rosemary; Costco — tho undressed– does as well http://bit.ly/LblEN3 ; there is a stash of them in the recesses of my fridge as they make perfect impromptu ‘fine dining’ grub — and it makes me look like I wore a toque whenever I cook them ;-) I do prefer them slightly pinker http://bit.ly/IYLsa7 served with couscous and some version of citrus/apricot compote although I’ve just had your version above at chez chegrouni in the recent marrakech trek around jemaa al fna plaza.

    (and, as I just learned from the recent article link: GO LIONS!)

    May 16, 2012 | 11:58 pm

  19. josephine says:

    What more could a mother want? But as an alternative to potatoes, use beans, which are very commonly served with lamb here in Europe. Soak dried beans (cannelini or similar)overnight, then simmer in salted water for 30-40 minutes before placing in the tray under the lamb with the garlic and other seasonings. The famous “borloloys” would be fabulous too, and if fresh don’t need soaking and only a short cooking time. These are absolutely delicious once they’ve absorbed all the lamb juices, and any leftovers are truly a meal in themselves, you can even enjoy them with your breakfast eggs, better than opening a can! It’s lamb season here and apart from the prime cuts there are some real bargains. I’ve been cooking slabs of lamb breast like this (these are the front ribs rather than the deluxe ones from the back) which take longer to cook but are full of flavor.

    May 17, 2012 | 12:40 am

  20. scott says:

    MM, Thank you so much for the suggestions, I will be checking these places out! I live in Mandaue, so I would love for Susie B, to point me in the right direction to the Italian Wholeseller. Thank you again for this blog.

    May 17, 2012 | 5:55 am

  21. roland says:

    what a pretty plate!

    May 17, 2012 | 10:57 am

  22. Dreaming says:

    My mouth is watering! Looks so good.

    May 17, 2012 | 12:55 pm

  23. Sarie says:

    Hi MarketMan! I’ve been looking for places that sell Lamb Ribs for eons, I guess not very well. Your recipe looks excellent and I’d love to try this out sometime. Thanks for posting. Seriously, your blog is the best. I’ll take my mom to S&L as soon as I can!

    Also, I found your post on Freshwater Clams in Cambodia after writing about it and my brother and I tried it. It was excellent. Can we get clams like that around Manila? I’d love to attempt to recreate the snack.

    May 18, 2012 | 12:12 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Sarie, I haven’t seen freshwater clams in Manila… only saltwater ones. And as I mention in that post, I would be concerned about cleanliness of the waters if the clams were to be eaten raw… Josephine, yes, beans would be a great accompaniment.

    May 18, 2012 | 6:47 am

  25. Steve says:

    Looks seriously yummy I am sure I will miss my lamb on Negros but eating local is a fun challenge and love fish too

    May 18, 2012 | 1:54 pm

  26. Jeremy says:

    Looks great! I’ve been buying local lamb from a vendor in Salcedo Market recently. It’s raised in Negros and really good quality. I will be doing a whole bone-in leg of lamb soon.

    May 18, 2012 | 2:04 pm

  27. Dee says:

    Check this out http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2012/05/atlanta-chef-ford-fry-mangalitsa-pig-fat-oreo-cookies.html The pig imprint on the cookie looks like Zubuchon’s.

    May 18, 2012 | 3:19 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    Dee, thanks for that link. And how decadent are those cookies sounding… ? Yes, the pigs look different, but the angling of the feet are different… the pig isn’t “trotting” as much… so while similar, I’d have to say they were different and I doubt the similarity was intentional. Another reader recently alerted me to a piggy weathervane in the movie Gnomeo & Juliet(?) that was likewise similar… but I have yet to see the movie and only saw the weathervane briefly in the trailer available online… But thank you all for keeping an eye out for the logo in misuse, I truly appreciate it. :)

    May 18, 2012 | 3:25 pm

  29. christina foss says:

    What a great idea letting the potatoes absorb the flavour of the lamb in that way!I’ve never liked any lamb dish I’ve had but I’ll definitely try this one.

    May 19, 2012 | 9:37 am

  30. Susie says:

    MM, just back from Auckland! Officially chiming in!!!! Italian guy in Mandaue is Glauco Muzzi of Il Ducato Trading..he imports cheeses, Italian meats, etc etc etc. Wholesale from his bodega but he has a place called Antica Osteria by Spa of Cebu on the way to Ma Luisa. You can buy some things there at retail. Starting next week, he is bringing in veal from Italy :-)

    May 19, 2012 | 6:24 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    Susie, thanks… I knew you would chime in. :)

    May 20, 2012 | 8:09 am

  32. scott says:

    Thank you Susie, I am going to find him!

    May 21, 2012 | 9:27 am

  33. Limone says:

    MM, great technique to place the potatoes under the rack and trap the drips. Learned a great tip!! Thank you. Had an almost similar dish in Astoria, Queens (Largest Greek community in US) and the lamb was basted with Ouzo…Tastes great when alcohol is burned off.

    May 22, 2012 | 3:43 pm

  34. Dexter says:

    Great recipe! Do they still sell lamb (frozen/fresh) at Rustans supermarkets?

    Apr 30, 2014 | 3:50 am


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