Minty Lamb Chops

 With Easter just a few shorts days away some of you may be contemplating going out and letting the restaurant do all the work, or maybe trying your hand at a home cooked holiday feast. Okay, let’s weigh your options and think about this one for a minute.

If you call ahead you may get a reservation at your favorite restaurant, they will undoubtedly do all the cooking and cleanup, so there is a little plus, but keep in mind even the best restaurants are never that good on busy holidays, and here’s why. Typically restaurants offer a ‘special’ menu on holidays so the poor chef is off his/her game, forced to change the creative flow of the kitchen for one day. The staff, from the waiters to the dishwashers, are working while the rest of the world has the day off, chances are you will come across a few disgruntled employees, you know what I’m talking about. And last but not least the freedom to sit and savor is nonexistent, get’em in and get’em out, here’s your doggy bag, don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Need I say more.

So, now that you are committed to a humble holiday at home working out the menu is easy. Today I am sharing with you my most favorite Easter recipe, Minty Lamb Chops! I know what your thinking “lamb chops, that’s why I go out for Easter, who cooks lamb chops at home? The answer is YOU DO, and this is the time of year to take on this challege. Although it is available year round, lamb is ‘in season’ in spring due to gestation and breeding patterns.  You can pick up lamb chops at any good butcher and I always find great deals and quality at the club stores, BJ’s, Costco, which ever is convenient for you.

Each rack has 8 chops, so figuring out how much to serve is easy! I always count 2-3 chops per person, but count more if you are banking on left-overs. I don’t think I have ever had left over lamb chops in my fridge!

Minty Rack of Lamb

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 cups fresh mint leaves – loosely packed

3 garlic cloves – roughly chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar – such as Sushi Vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup olive oil

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper – to taste

2 racks of lamb (7-8 bone each)

Olive oil for searing

¼ cup beef stock              

  • Combine mint leaves, garlic, vinegars, honey, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse several times for about 15 seconds, or until well incorporated. With the motor running slowly pour in the olive oil.
  • Place racks in a shallow dish and pour marinade on top. Gently rub in the marinade to coat the chops. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When oil is hot place both racks fatty side down in the skillet: reserve the remaining marinade. Sear the lamb for 4-6 minutes turning once to brown both sides. Place seared chops on a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast for 12-18 minutes, depending on preferred doneness. Lamb will register at 130 degrees for a rare cut, 150 for medium.
  • Meanwhile prepare the mint sauce. Place remaining marinade in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Add ¼ cup beef stock (or any stock you may have on hand), stirring frequently bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until mixture has reduced by one third.
  • Allow the lamb to rest for 5-7 minutes before carving between the ribs in single or double portions. Serve the mint sauce alongside chops. Enjoy!