Turkey, ham and roast beef are the traditional main dishes for this time of year, but why not try something different for the new year. Lamb is a rich and flavorful meat perfect for special occasions, and it’s relatively easy to make. Often lamb is paired with mint, and I love it that way, but my mustard-crusted lamb adds a special crunchy topping that gives the meat added flavor and juiciness. It’s a delicious and often underutilized meat that may become a new family tradition.

Belle’s Mustard-Crusted Lamb Chops

1 rack of lamb with 8 chops (1 ½ – 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon oil

¾ cup Italian dry breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Trim the majority of the fat cap off the top of the lamb, then season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat, then sear the lamb until browned on all sides. Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Drizzle the breadcrumb mixture with the olive oil and toss to coat. Place the lamb on a rimmed baking pan. Spread the mustard over the top evenly, then press the breadcrumb mixture on top. Gently pat the breadcrumbs down so that they stick and form a crust. Cover the bones with foil and roast, bone side down at 425 F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and roast for about 15-25 minutes longer until the internal temperature reaches 130 F for rare, 140 F for medium-rare, or 160 for well done. Check it often, so it doesn’t overcook. An instant-read thermometer is vital. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice the rack into four sections (two chops each).

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.