Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rosemary Crusted Lamb Chops with Lemon Minted Peas

So, I have to start by saying that I can count on one hand the number of times I've had lamb.  However, while at the store this morning, I found a small rack of lamb for less that $2 and it was the perfect amount for two.  Knowing 3 things: I like peas, I have an abundance of mint and I'm a fan of a tender cut of meat with almost any kind of sauce - I decided to go for it. With that out in the open, I have one thing to say - what, for the love of Pete, was I waiting for?  The combination of peas, mint, lamb and rosemary could quite possibly be sent from Heaven. Here's how it came together for us tonight...

For the lamb:
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, coarse chop
1 tbsp dijon
1 tsp garlic salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
freshly cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Trim the fat from the rack, pat dry and season both sides with salt & pepper.  Combine the ingredients above, whisking the olive oil in until a thick paste forms. Smear the mixture over all sides of the lamb and refrigerate for at least an hour, longer if you have the time.

Preheat the oven to 375° and in a heavy bottom sauté pan that can be transferred to the oven (I use my cast iron skillet), warm 2 tbsps of olive oil over medium-hi heat.  When the oil starts to ripple, add the rack of lamb fat side down to brown, turning once at 3 minutes and doing the same on the opposite side.  Transfer the entire pan to the oven and let it cook for 12-14 minutes depending on your temperature preference. Remove the lamb from the pan and place on a chopping board, cover with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes. 

For the sauce:
Move the sauté pan back to the stovetop with the drippings and warm through on medium-low heat. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and sauté.  Using a whisk, add 1 turn of a dry red wine, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, 1 tbsp butter and 1 sprig of rosemary, coarsely chopped.  Let the sauce reduce down over heat and to finish, add 1 tbsp of plain greek yogurt.  Keep warm until you are ready to serve.

Lemon Minted Smashed Peas
2 cups frozen young peas, blanched
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chicken stock
8-10 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 tsp of freshly chopped rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Blanch the peas first and then transfer to a sauce pot.  Over low heat, warm all ingredients above through. Using a hand blender, gently mash the peas, leaving some whole.  Finish with a little pecorino romano.

To plate, layer the smashed peas first, top with 3 chops and then drizzle 1-2 tbsps of the sauce over the lamb.  Top with chives to make it pretty. 

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