Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12: Spiced Lamb Chops on Sauteed Peppers and Onions with Garlic and Mint Couscous

4 lamb loin chops
   Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 cups couscous
5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons pine nuts

Cover the chops with wax paper or plastic and whack each chop with the heel of your hand to flatten it out. Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine the cumin, coriander, and paprika and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chops. Pat the spices in place and wash up. Let the chops stand for 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and onions. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and cook together for 5 minutes,

then add the tomatoes and continue to cook until their skins begin to burst.

Add half of the parsley to the skillet and toss. Transfer the vegetables to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Do not wash the skillet.

Place a tablespoon of the EVOO in a small pot for the couscous. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute, then add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Add the couscous, remove from the heat, and cover the pot. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Return the skillet you cooked the veggies in to the stove and add another tablespoon of EVOO. Add the lamb chops and sear for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare, 9-10 minutes on each side for well-done.

Arrange the chops on top of the peppers and onions.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the mint, the remaining parsley, and the pine nuts. The couscous makes a nice bed for the veggies and lamb to catch all the juices.

This recipe calls for 8 lamb loin chops, which would be 2 chops per person. Aside from being a whole lot of meat for one to eat, it gets to be very expensive. At my grocery store, it cost over $7 for 2. So I went ahead and changed the recipe to 4 instead of 8. It was plenty for us. Rachel says to sear the chops for 2-3 minutes for medium-rare and 4 minutes on each side for medium-well. Mine were pretty much rare to medium-rare after 4 minutes on each side. So I went ahead and changed the cooking times. For some reason, she always seems to shoot too low on the cooking times of the meats. That's especially bad when it's pork and chicken.

Other than that, I didn't change anything else and I love the flavors. She calls it "Shish Hold-the-Kebab."

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