By Adrian Richardson
A crown roast is made by joining two racks of rib chops to form a circle, so the bony ends of the ribs stand up like points of a crown. At the table, the crown is carved between the ribs into separate chops.
Ask your butcher for two racks of 7 or 8 ribs from the same animal, so they will correspond in size.
In order to bend the racks into a circle, you must first cut off the chine bones, which run at right angles to the rib; then trim the fatty layer of meat that covers the fleshy part of the chops; and finally cut through the cartilage to separate the connecting vertebrae.
The Process in More Depth
Chinning the Rib Racks
Place the ribs on a chopping board facing downwards. Use a sharp boning knife to cut away the chine bone down to the vertebrae, then holding the meat steady, snap the bone away from the spine. Cut away the layer of fat & meat that covers the eye of the loin.
Exposing the ribs. With a pairing knife, score a line across the ends of the ribs, 2cm from the tips. Cut or scrape out the flesh between the ribs down to about 3 cm. The exposed tips will form the points of the crown.
Separating the Vertebrae
Position the racks so the rib tips are pointing away from you & the vertebrae are facing upwards. With a small paring knife, the thin discs of the cartilage between each vertebrae.
Joining the Racks
Place the racks, ribs uppermost, with the larger ends butting against each other. With a trussing needle sew the two end ribs together half way down the rib bones. Cut & knot the string. Make another stitch near the base of the vertebrae. Loop the string rough the two end rib tips & tie them together.
Forming the Crown
Bend the joined racks into a circle, with the ribs curving outwards. If the ends do not meet, trim more fat or flesh from the top of the eye of the loin. To secure the crown, tie together the tips of the end ribs & make a single stitch at the base of the ribs.
Season the meat with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place in a preheated oven at 200C for around 16 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 65C.
When the crown is cooked, remove the foil from the rib tips & the base. Wrap the ends of the foil lining the tray over the crown.
Slide a broad spatula under the foil & lift the crown out of the tray. Place on a warmed serving dish, unwrap the foil & ease out from under the roast. Carve the roast.
Cut between each pair of ribs to separate the chops. Serve with Peas and Chicken Fat Potatoes.
For the potatoes, arrange pieces in an oven-proof baking dish. Add chicken fat and rosemary. Mix with your hands until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a preheated 200C oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the peas, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, bacon and thyme and sweat for about 10 minutes or until onion is soft & translucent.
Add the peas to the pan & pour over enough water to just cover them. Lower the heat & simmer for 5-8 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and serve.