For years I avoided preparing lamb. I'm not sure why I found it so intimidating, it's as if it I believed it was somehow more exotic than beef. A few years ago however, I became more 'adventurous' with my recipes and finally added lamb chops to my repertoire. Easy peasy, as Jamie Oliver says. Up until I dabbled with vegetarianism, Grilled Charmoula Lamb Chops from Epicurious was my go-to recipe of choice, unmodified. A word of caution; the onion and garlic taste (and smell) has the tendency to linger long after to lamb pop is gone.
But now that I'm a failed vegetarian, I have recently started to eat and prepare meat again. It's daunting - I'm a bit rusty when it comes to done-ness of meat (I err on the side of well done when I actually prefer the taste of medium). For my first lamb dinner AV (after vegetarianism), I thought I'd try a new variation.
Original recipe: Roasted Lamb Chops with Charmoula and Skillet Asparagus
- I chose not to make the asparagus from this recipe, and instead added it to the Lemony Potatoes.
- As I did not have time to marinate overnight, I marinated the meat for about an hour in the fridge, and I truly think that it was very flavourful anyway.
- I found that there was not a lot of charmoula after mixing, so I used only 5 chops instead of the recommended 8, next time I would consider adding more of the charmoula ingredients to get more sauce.
- Finally, the food processor may not have been the best tool for the job, once i pulsed it briefly the mix sat below the mixer blade and wasn't well processed. I will use a blender next time.
- I had the potatoes & asparagus in the oven first at 425 but then increased the heat to 500 for the lamb. As both were in the oven at the same time, I'm pretty sure the heat was a bit lower to start when I put the lamb chops in. The chops were perfectly cooked, medium-rare however the next time i made chops at 500C for 13 min they were over done. Perhaps shaving 2-3 minutes off might be in order if you aren't sharing the oven with another item.
Modified Version: Roasted Lamb Chops with Charmoula
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 5 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch-thick) lamb loin chops
Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until aromatic and slightly darker, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Transfer to processor. Add parsley leaves and next 6 ingredients to processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse paste forms. With machine running, gradually add 4 tablespoons oil. Transfer 2 tablespoons charmoula to small bowl; whisk in lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cover and chill to serve with lamb.
Transfer remaining charmoula to large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb chops; seal bag and turn to coat well. Chill as long as you can, up to 24 hours. If stored in fridge over night, let lamb and charmoula sauce in bowl stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 500°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place rack on prepared baking sheet. Place lamb on rack and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 13 minutes for medium rare. Transfer lamb to platter. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
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For a side, I chose to combine the following recipe with asparagus that I had on-hand, since the herbs and lemon work well for both. Next time I will try to be more vigilant and follow the recipe, since I obviously read it wrong.
Original Recipe: Lemony Salt-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes from Food & Wine
- The processor was dirty and I was feeling lazy so I used a knife to coarse chop the rosemary, thyme, lemon zest together
- I couldn't find sage at the store, so I left them out. Too bad, I love sage.
- I added asparagus to the mix for extra veggie goodness
- Seems I completely misread this recipe, because once the potatoes were on the rack, I sprinkled them with the herb mix and Fleur de sel rather than waiting till after they were cooked. whoops. they were still pretty good though.
Modified Version: Lemony Salt-Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Fingerling potatoes, or other small yellow fleshed potato (6-8 potatoes each serving)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 bundle of asparagus
- Fleur de Sel (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 425°. Zest the lemon. Remove thyme and rosemary leaves from rough stems. Combine herbs with lemon zest and chop by hand until finely chopped. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and butter and season with pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle with the herb mix, and fleur de sel. Leave some room on the tray to add the asparagus later. Roast for 25 minutes total. After about 10 minutes of cooking, coat the asparagus in the butter/oil mixture, and add the asparagus to the baking sheet, sprinkling with the mixture and fleur de sel, allowing the asparagus to roast with the potatoes for the remaining 15 min. Adjust timing based on your ovens idiosyncrasies.