Intro: Crown Roast of Lamb
I know what you're thinking: What could possibly be more appealing than these racks of lamb? Let's get right to the answer.
You will need 2 packages of lamb rib roast, a variety of root vegetables, butchers twine, a functional kitchen, and plenty of ambience.
Step 1: Prepare the Vegetables
You want roots for the foodscaping. A variety of flavors and colors is fun, but only use sturdy vegetables.
Scrub them well and chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss in oil, season well, and load into oven pans without heaping. Roast at 325F until tender and hold if needed at 150F.
Step 2: Rinse the Meat
Put on your sensible shoes, clear your mind, and take a deep cleansing breath. There's a lot on the line, but this is going to work.
Rinse your lamb in the package, because you don't know where it's been on the trip from Oceania. Open them up and drain off the juices. Then rinse thoroughly. It took a lot of bone sawing to get these racks. There are more fragments than you want to eat. So get them clean and blot the racks dry with paper towel.
Step 3: Sew Up the Crown
Take a 16 inch length of butchers twine and thread a darning needle.
Butt the racks together. Knot the twine on a bone and start the seam by piecing connective tissue. The trick is to capture the bones on both sides of seam with each stitch. Then the stitches can't pull out as the meat shrinks.
Six to eight stitches in each seam is fine. At the end, knot the twine on itself and snip off the extra. Now bend the double rack onto itself with the fat layer inside. Knot the twine again and stitch the 2nd seam.
The racks will flop around as you complete the crown. Stay with it. Don't worry about the appearance of your stitches. They won't make it to the table. Don't worry about the shape of the crown as you are stitching. Just make the seams with the racks well aligned. You can round up the crown when it's done. It will look like a beautifully natural structure even before it's cooked.
Step 4: Roast
It's considered good form to wrap the bones with foil to keep them from charring, but some may feel that detracts from the primal appeal.
I am being cute here by trussing the roast to be spun in a Ronco rotisserie. This cooks perfectly and it's so much fun to watch. However, you will also get perfect results by standing your crown on the bone ends and giving it a slow roast at 325F. Let it go an hour and test for internal temperature at a few points. The open architecture and bone conduction will cook this roast faster than you may expect. Continue cooking until you get a minimum internal temp of 145F. Then it is safe to eat.
Step 5: Set Presentation to Stun
It's nice to have a serving dish with a lip to contain the rolly vegetables. Don't worry if it isn't ornate: Nobody is going to notice it anyway. Lay down a base of roots and set your roast in the middle. Remove the foil, snip the knots, and gently pull the twine away. The roast will retain its shape.
Load the center with more delectable roots until they are brimming out of the roast. You want a dramatic presentation of plentiful food. Take your time. The trimmings will keep the roast warm.
You will see these roasts loaded with a regrettable vegetable mush or a pudding. Stay the course. You want to serve the meat without glunk sticking to the bones.
Step 6: Indulge in a Memorable Occasion
Carve between each bone and serve each warmed plate with 2 ribs and a heap of roots. Be sure there are copious amounts of sturdy dry wine ready and completely dispense with electric lighting. This is what you have been saving the candles for, right? Set out a dozen, even if you have to stand them in jars. Nobody will notice.
A word about etiquette is needed here. This is such a rare feast, your dinner guests will be staggered at the spectacle and uncertain of how to eat it. You must lead. Take the clean end of the bone in hand and fork away nibbles. If you really love your guests, gnaw the bone when you're done. This will gain their undying gratitude, because nobody will want to leave a speck of that delectable meat on the plate.
Be chatty. There are only a few ounces of meat in each portion, but it is very tasty. Let the meal linger. Toward the end, reach with your fork for the serving plate and spear a root. This will encourage everyone to share the remains in communion. Don't plan on leftovers.
You can follow through on the crown theme for dessert, but let everyone rest a little.