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Lamb Chops with Ham, Garlic and Basil

lamb chops with ham, garlic and basil

Lamb chops are one of those dishes you can go to with very little trouble and yet produce a spectacular dish — one that will keep company coming back time after time or just satisfy a family. First of all, good loin or center ribs are probably the best a lamb has to offer and yet, served on a plate or on a center dish, they look just delicious.

This lamb dish has a great deal going for it. It can be done in a frying pan. It  doesn’t require much except a little ham (this time from a Honey-Baked ham) but you could also use pancetta to make it just a bit more Italian. The rest is just some olive oil, plenty of garlic and a little basil. The result is unpredictably good, maybe one of the best lamb chop meals I’ve ever made, and with so little effort.

Just make sure you’ve got the pan really hot at the end and that’s all that’s needed.

Add these on a plate of roasted Brussels sprouts and you’ve got a great meal.

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Lamb with Browned Butter and Garlic

lamb with browned butter

This is another quick way to do something special and nice, but lamb with browned butter needs nothing but some good lamb, browned butter and garlic. You really can’t mess this up.  Perhaps the only trick is to use enough garlic to get it where you want it, and that probably takes more than you think. And just a little fresh basil at the end sends it right to the top. 

If you’ve never worked with browned butter, there is a little quirk that really helps, which is to pay close attention to the temp range. A little too low and nothing much happens, a little too high, it gets brown and what I like to think of as “muddy” in a real hurry. So pay attention to the pan and adjust temps as needed to keep it right in that stage where it browns very nicely and you’ll be just fine.

The lamb chops really take care of themselves — a long blast on either side and you’re done. Maybe the whole dish takes maybe seven minutes or maybe just a bit longer, remove the lamb and add a little basil, then pour the browned butter over the chops and you’re done. Seriously, it takes more time to make the noodles than it does the lamb.

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Lamb Chops in Balsamic Vinegar and Herbs

lamb chops with balsamic vinegar and herbs

Lamb chops, done right, are a real joy to  have on the table. They are quick to make, and with only that little effort, can be a fantastic main dish or even a simple great appetizer. These lamb chops with balsamic vinegar and herb dressing are a perfect example of just that. They made us a great meal, but could also have made — one or two at a time — a perfect way to start a meal, as well. 

The lamb chops them selves are just covered in herbs (rosemary, thyme and basil) and allowed to sit for half an hour or more, then simply sauteed until they’re done in whatever fashion you like. Those herbs left over, some balsamic vinegar, some chicken broth and some capers are basically all that’s needed to finish the dish.  Rally, that’s all there is to it. Maybe you’ve got an hour in the dish, most of which is just waiting for things to happen (or while you finish something else in the kitchen). 

End result? Well, if you like a great  taste of lamb without a whole lot of anything else, you’re in luck here. The herbs add just the right amount of a nice touch to the meat, and the vinegar is like a nice little draft of something that’s just a little interesting, but not overwhelming the rest of the food. In other words, it gets a good thumbs up here at Discovery Cooking.

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Stifado of Lamb

stifado of lamb

Stifado is one of many things you can find often in Greece, although in my limited purview in the states, it’s something you rarely see here. It’s what I would call a braise, but using red wine and red vinegar rather than broth or water as the liquid. The stifado of lamb is a perfect option.

I’m told by those who do some travel in Greece that you can find stifado with almost anything that can be braised, which accompanies a lot of things, if you really think of it. The lamb stifado is done using stewing lamb (basically shoulder) and given long enough in the braising liquid, it works out really well. The spices used are quite pronounced and they really add a great deal to the dish, especially the cloves and cinnamon. Served with a little bit of orzo or maybe some rice, it’s great.

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Lamb and Mint-Garlic Marinade

lamb and mint-garlic marinade

There are plenty of beef-heavy grilling recipes, but I’m sometimes just brought up a little short at the lack of really good lamb recipes, so I decided to offer up a great lamb and mint-garlic marinade, made just for the grill. This one takes only a few minutes to make up the mint-garlic preparation a little early to give the lamb a chance to soak in the marinade, but otherwise, it’s a great non-steak alternative.

Lamb can, of course, been a  tad pricey sometimes, but if you keep your eyes open, you can often find it at prices that compete with other grilling staples and occasionally, it often becomes at a pretty good discount. They key for this recipe, however, is to use a good leg of lamb that’s had a nice chance to sit in the marinade awhile. That’s really the big difference here. At a minimum, figure it for at least two hours in the marinade, but I find that letting the lamb  sit overnight is the best way to do it.

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Roasted Lamb with Onions

roasted lamb

If you find yourself some day looking for a rather easy and sane quick dinner, this roasted lamb is a very simple but a really nice complement to some green veggies and a nice little wine. It doesn’t require a huge preparation, some lamb shoulder, a couple of onions, a little garlic, a little bit of tomato paste, some white wine and a little saffron. 

I’m guessing by now you might have noticed that little bit of saffron. First, yes, it really is essential. It does something to the meat and the veggies that makes it special. For one thing, it adds a little floral note to the preparation and it most definitely adds a wonderful fragrance to the sauce. Second, yes, I know it tends to be a bit pricey from the supermarket, but it is also available from decent sized Latino or world markets at a reasonable price. 

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Persian Khoresh Gheymeh

Persian Khoresh Gheymeh

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I asked some of the users on Reddit’s r/recipes to suggest some dishes they’ve enjoyed and would like to duplicate at home. I offered to research the dish and come up with the best version I could — one that might come close to what they remembered, but more important, could serve as a base for their own exploration. Khoresh gheymeh is one of the dishes that came up in that discussion.

I’ve not had the chance to sample much Persian food, so I had not encountered this amazing combination of meat (beef or lamb) and split peas. A bit of research, including calls to a couple of Persian friends and some web searching, made it clear that Khoresh gheymeh is the Persian equivalent of Grandma’s mac and cheese. Comfort food. It only took a couple of tries to get it right (at least to my taste).

As often happens with recipes from a particular region, this one has some ingredients that you probably won’t find in the local Safeway. In particular, it requires Persian dried limes (limoo amani) and a bit of rosewater (which seems to be optional, though I like what it did for the flavors). Fortunately, good ol’ Amazon came through and I was able to have both delivered to my door. (Note the links above.)

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