Weeknight Lamb Chops

I swear to God, y’all, the next post I put up is going to be a healthy recipe. I PROMISE. Not that this one is bad, it really isn’t. It’s just that yes… it is another red meat recipe.

In my defense, any time they have lamb on sale I black out and by the time I come to I’m back home and I’ve bought the store out. I’m suddenly surrounded by the packages and I don’t know how it happens… I just know that I can’t be stopped. When there are lamb chops cooking all feels right with the world and I’m swept off my feet, just floating around the kitchen. When I find a man that can make me feel the way lamb chops do, I’ll marry him.

I wanted to do something a little different with the lamb this time. Rosemary and lemon, dijon, and the other usual suspects, while always delicious, felt like a bit of a rut. As I was hunting around my kitchen looking for a way to spice things up, I noticed the nearly-finished bottle of cabernet on my counter. Bingo. If there’s one thing I’ll never do, it’s waste wine.

Keep in mind that this is a recipe for a light meal for two or a meal for one person who really likes lamb (ME). The recipe is simple and can be easily scaled up or down depending on how many you would like to feed. At least two chops per person is a safe bet, with a few extras for the hungry guests.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 lamb loin chops (pick ones that are relatively the same size)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

The Breakdown:

  1. Combine the wine, dijon, olive oil, and garlic and whisk vigorously to combine.
  2. Season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides and then place them in a large ziploc bag to marinate overnight or for at least four hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 275 °F.
  4. Remove the chops from the marinade and gently pat dry.
  5. On a rack over a sheet pan (lined with foil to save yourself some time), roast the chops for 25-30 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 120 °F. Remove them from the oven and let them rest while you preheat 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.
  6. When the oil begins to shimmer, sear the chops for 1-2 minutes per side or until the desired internal temperature is reached. I like my lamb on the rarer side, at about 135-140 °F, but for the classic medium-rare shoot for 145°F.
  7. Serve immediately.

Here, again, we see how big a fan I am of the reverse sear method. It seems to be suited to almost any protein, as long as it isn’t too thinly cut. Usually, the searing step throws up a considerable amount of smoke. The window in my kitchen doesn’t actually open (I have a bone to pick with the idiot that designed that), so I’m unfortunately left to deal with a room full of smoke for a few minutes. It’s all worth it in the name of perfectly seared meat, but as you can imagine I am very excited to announce that I’ve finally figured out a way around this.

The key is searing in just enough lightly-flavored oil (i.e. canola) to lubricate the bottom of the pan. It gives it a beautiful, brown sear without smoking up the room. Even my weak-ass little microwave hood can handle it. WOOHOO! It’s so simple that I really don’t know why I never thought of it before. The logic, as I understood it, was that dry searing affords the best conditions for the Maillard Reaction (browning). While this is true, I see no difference in results between dry searing and using this little bit of oil. It still browns and develops a crust, it’s just a lot easier on my poor asthmatic lungs.

I served my chops over a classic roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts. A little bacon, a little parmesan, and a good hot oven and you can’t go wrong. Slice everything to roughly the same thickness and then roast at 425 °F until browned.

Adding wine doesn’t seem like much of a change, but the acidity and fruitiness really did make a difference in the flavor profile. I’ve always liked lamb with fruit (s/o to my Swedish heritage for my intense love for lingonberry jam) because it complements the slight gaminess of the meat. The dijon is still brings the background earthiness and it tastes brand-new, even though its just a slight change. Rosemary would certainly be welcome here, I was just too lazy to go find some this time.

There is something to be said for simplicity. A few ingredients and a short cooking time makes this recipe easy and accessible for any night of the week. Not every recipe requires thirty fresh ingredients and everything in your pantry. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it can’t be incredible. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a recipe is needlessly overcomplicated. Why are there nine sauces on one plate? Why did you put mf seven herbs and spices in my cookie? Just let me eat and quit trying to look fancy.

Try it! You’ll love it.

 

 

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