Yesterday was a rough one. I may or may not have been stuffing my face with cheese fries at an after-hours bar called “local union” surrounded by the weirdest mix of people I’ve ever encountered at 3am Saturday morning. Needless to say, Sean and I did not feel so hot a few hours later. I’ve probably slept past 8am only a handful of times in my life, and its safe to say they are all alcohol related.
Hangovers used to last me until 10am and then I would magically transform into a human again at the stroke of 1o. Nowadays it’s more like 3pm, if I’m lucky. Getting old is the worst.
So, what do you do when you finally see the light of day at 3pm? You try to be productive. In my case, that was going to Whole Foods so that I could cook a proper dinner for the first time in a week. We basically have just used Sean’s deployment as an opportunity to give up cooking entirely and I’m getting to the point where I’m going to need dialysis to flush all of the sodium out of my system.
I love Whole Food’s meat and seafood section. It’s truly the one place where you can go, see what looks good, and be inspired to cook out of your comfort zone. Yesterday they had lamb shoulder chops on sale, and that inspired this recipe which was a great success!
Lamb shoulder is a funky cut of meat. It’s just not as pretty as the leg, unfortunately. When it’s cut into chops, the bone is exposed and that’s never going to be picture perfect. BUT, it’s significantly cheaper than most other cuts, easier to cook, and SO SO SO FLAVORFUL. If you’ve never cooked lamb before and want something that is pretty difficult to screw up, this is a really good place to start.
For this recipe, I marinated and pan-seared the chop and then dressed it with a mint demi-glaze. Mint and lamb are like peas and carrots, and this sauce has a tangy sweetness that does backflips in your mouth.
SEARED LAMB SHOULDER CHOPS WITH SWEET MINT PUREE
For the Chops:
- 2 Lamb Shoulder Chops (leave the fat on)
- 3 Springs of Rosemary, taken off the stem but not chopped
- 4 Cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4 Tbs Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the glaze:
- 1/2 Cup of Fresh Mint, packed
- 2 T Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
In a glass baking dish, combine 2 T of olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Salt and pepper one side of the lamb chops and place in dish. Turn over once to thoroughly coat and salt and pepper the other side. Cover and set aside for one hour at room temperature (You can do this overnight too, just be sure to let it sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking).
When you’re ready to cook the lamb, heat a large skillet to medium and coat pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When pan is hot (a drop of water should sizzle), place lamb chops in pan and sear for 4-5 minutes. Flip when the outside has a golden brown sear and the meat has begun to cook through. (Note: It’s best to just set a timer when you’re searing meat in a skillet. If you get anxious and flip it too soon, you really ruin the sear and it won’t cook evenly. So, set it and forget it until you hear that beep!).
Sear the other side for another 4 minutes for medium-rare (5 for medium) and remove to another plate. The chops need to rest for at least five minutes so the juices can run out. If you skip this step and plate immediately, the juices will ruin your presentation and you will probably gross out your date.
While the meat is resting, make the glaze by liquifying the mint, apple cider vinegar and confectioner’s sugar in a blender. I use the single-serving attachment to my ninja blender for most sauces and purees because it’s easier to clean up and I can just snap the lid on if I want to save some for later.
Drizzle a generous amount of the glaze over the lamb when you’re ready to serve and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
I should probably mention that I can never bring myself to eat the fatty part of meat, and these lamb chops usually have a considerable amount of fat. You’ll have to work a little to cut around it as you eat, but it is definitely worth the effort!!