Chop, Chop

Pork, beef, and chicken all have their merits and their special places in my heart but sometimes they just get… boring. This is where lamb comes in.

It can be expensive, but if you find racks of lamb on sale STOCK. UP. Don’t forget to invite me over. If left to my own devices I’d eat the whole rack myself but you might be able to grab a chop or two if you’re quick.

Lamb is red meat, like beef with a slightly gamier flavor. Not “squirrel you shot in the backyard in your overalls” gamey, delicious gamey. I’m really wishing there was a better word for this. Just trust me, shut up and eat it. Garlic, dijon mustard, and rosemary are perfect to highlight its unique flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb
  •  3 tablespoons dijon mustard (I like Grey Poupon)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, woody stems removed
  • Breadcrumbs, if desired (see note)

The Breakdown:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F.
  2. Dry your rack of lamb and liberally salt and pepper both sides.
  3. Put a large frying pan over high heat and wait a few minutes for it to get REALLY hot. Fun trick: sprinkle some water into the pan with your fingertips. If it immediately evaporates, not hot enough. When the water makes little beads that roll around the pan for a moment before evaporating, BINGO that thing is hotter than whatever Rihanna decided to put on today. Well, probably not. But it’s hot enough for us peasants.
  4. Sear the bejeezus out of that thing. Let it sit in that hellfire pan for five minutes on each side, or until each side is deep, delicious brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. You’ll render out some of the fat in the process but are we going to toss that out? Heck no. Roll your asparagus around in it before transferring them to a sheet pan to roast for 10 minutes. You can thank me later.
  5. While the lamb cools enough to keep you from burning your fingerprints off, make your herb paste. Start by finely chopping the rosemary and adding it to a small bowl.
  6. To the bowl. add your dijon mustard and olive oil.
  7. Dice up the garlic and add it in there too. Garlic is one of those things that there just never seems to be enough of. I don’t care if it makes my hands smell for a few hours, its damn tasty. Also, don’t use that pre chopped jarred nonsense. Come on y’all. Just smash some garlic up, you can do it. 
  8. Mix the paste until homogenous and spread it over the top of your now-cool rack of lamb. If not, RIP to your fingerprints. My bad, friend.
    • This is the part where you can add in a half cup of breadcrumbs if you want. If I want a crunchier texture, I’ll do it. Other times (like today) I completely forgot that I usually do this and so I just pretended like I left them out on purpose. Fake it until you make it. 
  9. Return the rack to your frying pan and place in the oven.
  10. In about 15-20 minutes, when the lamb has reached an internal temperature of 135-140°, remove and let rest on a cutting board, lightly tented with foil.

lambikin

It should come out looking something like this. I am salty as hell that some of my crust came off. Be better than me. 

One of my dearest memories is from a family trip we took to Spain when I was about 15. We were lucky enough to be invited to a “restaurant” that an old man ran out of his house. He had a huge fireplace in which he grilled and heated stoneware pots full of patatas bravas, bean stews, and fresh vegetables. Rounds and rounds of these pots were served to the table and passed around, family style.

Then came the lamb. This man grilled these chops in his massive fireplace and I’ll never know if it was the ingredients, the quality, or the atmosphere but they were the best thing I’d ever put in my mouth. Probably a combination of all three. I think I blacked out halfway through my first bite because next thing I new I had a PILE of bones in front of me. I ate so many that when the old man saw my pile of bones we didn’t need to speak the same language for the “holy shit white girl, what are you part bear?” look came across loud and clear.

Every time I eat lamb I remember that meal. I remember the smell of the hearth and the way the man’s eyes crinkled as he laughed at our graveyard of lamb chop bones. I remember the warmth I felt that day surrounded by family and excellent food. Lamb, to me, never gets old. Try it out and join the club.

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