Monday, March 1, 2010

Lamb Chops: Simply Done, Simply Delicious

The wife and I enjoy leg of lamb, rack of lamb, and lamb loin chops. This is a simple preparation of the loin chop, which I think is the lamb equivalent of a beef T bone or porterhouse steak. Lamb chops are one of the few meats I prefer to pan saute rather than grill.

Depending upon the thickness of your chops, I usually eat two and the wife usually eats one at one meal. I wanted leftovers, so I bought almost a dozen. Take your chops out of the fridge a couple of hours before cooking so the meat will come to room temperature.

Have a bottle of everyday merlot or cabernet sauvignon open. Yes, you can taste it while you prepare dinner. You remember the famous saying, "I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food". I also got some rosemary sprigs from the garden. Remove the needles from the stem and roughly chop. You can use dried rosemary.

Get a large pan heating over medium to high heat. When it's hot, add your olive oil.

Add your lamb chops and season with salt and pepper.

After a few minutes, depending upon how hot your pan is, turn the chops over and brown the other side. You want a dark brown on each side. The hot pan is important because you want the browning on the exterior but you don't want to overcook the interior. We try to keep the middle pink.

When cooked on both sides, remove to a platter and keep warm. You can cover with foil or put in a low oven.

If there's a lot of fat in the pan, pour it out (not down the drain!).

Add your basic red wine to the pan and reduce, while scraping any cooked on goodies from the bottom of the pan. Refill your glass while you're at it.

Add your chopped rosemary to the pan. You probably could add some chopped garlic too. Reduce the pan sauce until it starts to thicken. It can get quite syrupy. Pour any accumulated juices from the cooked lamb chops into the pan.

When the sauce's consistency is to your liking, add a pat of butter, turn off the heat, and swirl the pan to incorporate the butter. The butter adds some richness and glossiness to the pan sauce. Begin your plating.

Spoon some of the pan sauce over your lamb chops. Here we enjoyed the chops with mashed potatoes and Auburn field peas.

We enjoyed the lamb chops with a Cline "small berry" mourvedre that our kind friends Steve and Amy gave us. Steve enjoys mourvedre with lamb, and after this dinner, we heartily concur. The label says the winery "dry farms" the grapes for this wine. This produces a more concentrated, flavorful wine. Cline also makes a widely available, good red wine called "Cashmere", which as its name implies, contains supple fruit. We also have enjoyed lamb with cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The meat can be rich, so a sturdy wine will match well.