Birds On A Wire, asked about the lamb chops we had on New Year's Eve. Her request made me feel good and gave me an excuse to share the recipe.
Denny and I love the richness of lamb but we usually save it for special occasions since lamb has a fair amount of fat.
This recipe is good, easy and fast. Just three processes (four if you make the mushrooms): Marinate the chops, sear in an oven-going skillet, finish in a moderate oven and saute mushrooms as a topper.
On New Year's Eve, after the shopping debacle and about four hours before dinner, I put the chops into the marinade. You can marinate shorter or longer but four hours is enough to flavor the meat without overwhelming it.
For two people, I buy 4 lamb chops, thick ones about 3/4" - 1", about a pound total. That sounds like a lot of meat but bones and exterior fat will be cut off. If you're at home, you'll probably gnaw on the bones but I didn't say that.
~ 1/3 cup red wine
~ 2 Tblsp Pickapeppa Sauce (A mildly spicy Jamaican condiment based on tamarind, peppers and spices. Use Worchestershire Sauce for less of a kick.)
2 med. cloves garlic, pressed
1 sprig rosemary, about 4 inches long, leaves stripped off the stem
Mix well and pour over lamb chops in a zipper bag. Seal and refrigerate.
Turn bag over a couple of times during marination to distribute the sauce on both sides of the chops.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Remove chops from marinade and pat dry (discard marinade). Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and grind on fresh pepper to taste.
Heat a cast-iron or other heavy oven-going skillet over med-high heat. Add a thin skim of oil, I use Smart Balance. When hot, add chops. Leave just until browned and turn over. Brown the other side and place skillet in the oven. Roast for approximately 5 minutes for rare, longer if you prefer more done.
I test for doneness by pushing on the meat with my finger. The more it gives, the more rare it is. That's a learn-by-doing method but you'd be surprised at how well your mind associates the feel with the result. For an instant-read thermometer, the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 140F for rare. I think that's more done than rare. I'd take them off earlier, between 125F-130F.
Whatever your preference, remove the chops from the skillet and put them on a plate with a loose foil tent for at least 5 minutes before serving.
For mushrooms: Put the pan back on a burner on medium-high heat and add 8-10 ounces of sliced mushrooms. Stir often to bring up the crusty bits and keep the mushrooms from burning. There is usually enough seasoning in the pan to flavor the mushrooms without added salt and pepper.
Since I know I'll be heating the oven, I usually coordinate roasted vegetables as side dishes.
Serve with a full-bodied red wine, a cabernet sauvignon or a syrah would be good.
Toast your family and your life and savor the flavors.