Peppercorn-Crusted Lamb Chops w/ Spicy Fig Jam

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I had intentions of posting this much earlier in the week for your Easter dinner ideas. Now, here it is, Friday afternoon, and I’m just getting around to it. SMH. I’m just going to stop planning blog posts by the calendar. I can’t ever seem to stick to it.

Anyway, if you are still deciding what to make for Easter dinner, then yay! I’m not too late. To be honest, these lamb chops are SO simple, you could make them any night or for any occasion. I feel like lamb chops are one of those things that are super intimidating to most people but you really shouldn’t be afraid of them. When I first started to make lamb chops, my biggest mistake was over-cooking them. Lamb should usually be served at medium-rare and mostly pink in the center.

Peppercorn-Crusted Lamb Chops w/ Spicy Fig Jam
1 cup fig jam
4 tsp Sriracha chili sauce
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 racks of lamb, fully trimmed and bones frenched
4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup coarsely ground peppercorn mélange (mix of pink, white, black and green peppercorns)

1. To make the spicy fig jam sauce, mix the jam, 2 Tbsp water, and Sriracha together in a small saucepan. Warm the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the butter to the sauce and stir until incorporated. Set aside while cooking the chops.
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F. Brush 1 Tbsp of the oil over the lamb racks. Season with the salt. Spread the peppercorns on a cutting board, press the top and sides of each rack into the peppercorns to coat. Set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a very large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add one lamb rack, top side down, and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Repeat with the second rack. Interlace the lamb racks, bones facing up, and return to skillet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a rack and not touching bone registers 130°F, about 20 minutes, for medium-rare.
4. Let the racks stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Cut between the bones into individual chops. Transfer 4 chops to each dinner plate and add a large spoonful of sauce. Serve immediately.

Enjoy everyone! And have a fantastic Easter weekend filled with fun, food, friends & family!

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Lamb chops w/ fresh fig pan sauce

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I’m a little crazy for figs right now. Also, I found myself searching for fall décor on Pinterest the other day. It’s not even the end of August! Normally I would be avoiding the idea of fall as much as possible, but this year I’m really excited for it to get here…fall t.v. shows, cozy sweaters and boots, football, fires in the fireplace…I’m really not sure when my “favorite” season changed from summer to fall! Must have been a slow transition when I realized that summer doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy and doing nothing but laying by the pool all day.

Lamb chops w/ fresh fig pan sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
8 ozs fresh figs, stemmed and cut into pieces
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shiraz or other spicy red wine
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
12 (3 oz) lamb rib chops, trimmed

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots; cook for 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add figs; mash with a potato masher to break them up. Cook for 3 minutes or until figs start to break down, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/4 tsp black pepper.
3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add wine; boil for 1 minute. Stir in stock and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer 10 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Add honey and vinegar; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; discard  bay leaf. Stir in rosemary; cover and keep sauce warm.
4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush lamb with remaining 1 tsp oil; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add lamb to skillet; sear 2 minutes on each side. Place pan in oven; bake at 400° for 4 minutes (for medium-rare) or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pan from oven; remove lamb from pan. Let lamb stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sauce.

Original recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Lamb Chops with Farro, Arugula and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

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What a weekend! Our Seahawks are going to the Superbowl again!! Such a fun weekend up in Seattle, watching the game and hanging with friends. Along with that, lots of yummy football food and drink. Which means we needed something a little lighter for dinner tonight.

If you don’t already read or subscribe to Cooking Light Magazine, this is the month to do it! The recipes in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue are mouthwatering! I have not dog-eared so many pages in a food magazine before as I did in the current issue, and tonight’s dinner was one of them.

Lamb Chops with Farro, Arugula, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
Serves 4
8 (4 oz) lamb loin chops
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
8 ozs uncooked farro
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 tsps. honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsps. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 ozs baby arugula

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Sprinkle lamb with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add to grill; cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes.
2. Cook farro according to package directions. Drain and let cool.
3. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and next 7 ingredients (through thyme) in a small bowl.
4. Combine farro and arugula in a bowl. Add half of dressing; toss to coat. Divide farro mixture evenly among 4 serving plates; arrange 2 lamb chops on each plate. Drizzle remaining dressing over lamb.

*Original recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Mint & Cumin Spiced Lamb Chops

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I felt like I was at a restaurant while I was eating these! Incredible flavors that will impress all your dinner guests. The rub was delicious and would actually taste great on almost any type of meat. A great meal for a weekend BBQ, make the rub ahead of time, apply to the meat and let it sit in the refrigerator for the day.

Mint & Cumin Spiced Lamb Chops
Makes 24 Lamb Chops
2 medium onions, peeled, quartered
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
1 cup fresh parsley leaves with tender stems
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp ras-el-hanout or garam masala
Kosher salt
24 untrimmed lamb chops (about 5 pounds)

1. Pulse onions, cilantro, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, allspice, red pepper flakes, and garam masala in a food processor until very finely chopped; season with salt.
2. Place lamb in a large dish and rub with spice mixture. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
3. Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil grate. Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium.
4. Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving, garnish with cilantro, mint and parsley leaves.

*original recipe from Bon Appétit