Pistachio and Goat Cheese Crusted Spicy Lamb Chops

If I know my husband, then I’m definitely going to be making him happy with my Valentine’s Day surf and turf meal.  Yesterday, I featured the Lobster Risotto as part of my love week series for the surf part.  Today, I’m going to share with you lamb chops, one of my husband’s favorites!

I think this is one of the easiest recipes but one that also looks pretty fancy.  Before I give you the recipe, I’m going to share with you a few tips to ensure your lamb chops turn out just as amazing!

BUYING THE LAMB CHOPS
Lamb chops are typically bone-in meat chops, typically taken from the rib of the animal. They are loaded with flavor, tender, and cook very quickly, typically within 10-12 minutes depending on thickness and your preference of cook on the meat.  Some recipes call for chops to be frenched, which is simply removing the fat from the bone for a cleaner look.  If that’s the case, you can either clean away the fat at home or being lazy like me, you can as your meat butcher to french the chops for you.

WHY MARINATE?
Marinating any meat, especially dark meat, helps to tenderize it.  This in turn will lead you to have a softer, richer tasting lamb.  You can marinate the lamb chops as little as 30 minutes up to overnight.  For this recipe, I marinated the lamb for 2 hours as it was mostly dry spices and oil.  When I make my Lamb Tagine, I usually marinate the lamb overnight as it will be part of a stew so I want it ultra tender.

COOKING
Lamb chops typically don’t need very much time to cook which is one of the best part about cooking them.  I like to do 8-10 minutes for medium rare and 10-12 minutes for medium.  Don’t forget to let them rest for an additional 10 minutes because they tend to continue cooking even when pulled out of the oven or off the stove. The outside food is always hotter than the inside, and heat slowly transfers inward, continuing to cook the food even after it has been removed from the heat source, hence carryover cooking.  Always check the temp with a food/meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked: 125°F (51°C) for medium-rare, or 135°F (57°C) for medium.

So now that you armed with all of my information to make the best lamb chops, I’m going to share this amazing recipe.  I paired my chops with Jeff Mauro’s 4 Cheese Polenta and roasted rainbow carrots.  Other grains that would be delicious with these lamb chops would be Couscous or Farro.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Lamb Chop and have a very special Valentine’s Day!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Lamb Tagine

One of my favorite wedding gifts was from one of my closest friends Christine.  A Moroccan tagine.  When I first opened the box and saw it, I was fascinated by this shallow pot and cone shaped cover.  I thought, how do I cook anything in here?  3 years later, it’s become one of my prized kitchen accessories. (This particular time, I ended up using the casserole dish because of the amount I was making, otherwise, the tagine is perfect for 2-3 servings)

wp-1473223031998.jpgThis Lamb Tagine is a favorite in my household.  Juicy, tender meat falling off the bone with each bite.  Fresh figs and Asian Pears to add just the right hint of sweetness to the dish.  A chermoula spicy enough to wake up your palate.  How can you go wrong?  It takes a while to make, but worth every second of the wait.

First, you want to make the chermoula to marinate the lamb in.  Chermoula is a marinade usually made from herbs, oil, and spices.  This one is made from Parsley, EVOO, garlic, lemon juice, spices and jalapeño to add a little kick.  Try to give your lamb at least 6 hours to marinate, overnight if you can.  The lemon juice in the chermoula is important as it will help break down the proteins in the lamb and make it more tender.

wp-1473223031673.jpgDoesn’t that vibrant and green chermoula look gorgeous?!

About 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the lamb, chop the figs and onions.  These are going to help make the basis of your “stew”.

The lamb will go on top and the whole dish will go in the oven for 1.5 hours.  At the end of the two hours, browned pears will top the lamb and in it goes into the oven for another 30 minutes.
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The result…. delicious, tender, juicy lamb with figs and prunes melting in your mouth.  It’s a pretty easy recipe that looks like you deserve a Michelin star for!

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Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:
3 shoulder of lamb on the bone
2 Tbsp ghee
1 red onion, chopped into wedges
1 c pitted prunes
1.2 c fresh figs, halved (can replace with dried figs if fresh not available)
3 Tbsp butter
1 large Asian pear, chopped into wedges

For the Chermoula:
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeños
1 small bunch of parsley
fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp cumin
4 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to make a coarse paste.  Make small incisions in the lamb and rub the chermoula into the meat.  Cover and leave in fridge overnight, or at least a minimum of 6 hours for the proteins in the meat to break down.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Over medium flame, heat ghee in the tagine or stoneware casserole dish.  Add the lamb and brown for about 3 minutes on each side.  Set lamb aside on a separate plate and in the same ghee, add the leftover chermoula, onions, prunes, and figs.  Sauté for about 3 minutes, then add 1 cup of water.  Add the browned lamb back into the tagine/casserole dish and cover.  Bake for 1.5 hours.

About 5 minutes pulling the lamb out of the oven, melt butter in a pan and add the Asian pears.  Sauté till golden brown.  Return lamb to oven for another 30 minutes.

Serve lamb immediately with Buttery Couscous.

Lamb Meatballs

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“A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  This is definitely true for my husband and I.  One of the first meals I made for him were Lamb Kebabs and it obviously made it to his heart!  I made it recently and brought back memories of our dating days.  Hopefully, this recipe will make it to your family’s stomach and heart.

Ingredients:
2lbs ground, lean lamb
2 eggs
1/2c bread crumbs
1 med yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 packet Tikka Seekh Kabab Mix (this can be found at any Indian Store)

shan_tikka_seekh_kebab_bbq_mix(I forgot to take a picture of mine but this is what the packet looks like)
Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.  But be careful not to over mix the meat.  Over mixing it will make the meat really tough when you cook it.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight if you plan ahead.  The longer it marinates, the better the flavor.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray two baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray.  Roll out the meat into 3/4″ balls and line onto a baking sheet.  This recipe makes 50 meatballs.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Check internal temp to be 160°F to make sure they’re cooked through.

Once you pull them out of the oven, let them rest for a couple of minutes.  Serve with tzatziki sauce.  Enjoy!