out of the ordinary

One of the things I like most about my meat CSA is that it encourages me to cook things I wouldn’t normally pick up at the market. Like lamb chops. My family never ate lamb when I was growing up; I guess my parents just didn’t like it. Maybe there was some over-cooked, rubbery lamb chop memory buried deep in my mother’s childhood? Who knows? The first time I had lamb as an adult, however, was in an Indian restaurant (lamb vindaloo, I think), and I loved it.

Cider-Glazed Lamb Chops

Still, I rarely buy lamb to cook myself at home (probably because I have no deep childhood memories of watching someone prepare lamb). So when I saw this recipe for cider-glazed lamb chops in the November 2007 Gourmet, I was very excited because I had a package of lamb chops sitting in my freezer. Despite their name, the glaze on these chops does not taste heavily of apple cider at all. The prominent flavors here are the ginger and garlic, but the apple cider gives the glaze a sweetness and a syrupy consistency. The resulting chops are spicy from the garlic, and there is a subtle, almost citrus flavor which must be the result of the warm ginger and the acidity in the cider and the rice wine.

The glaze is full of assertive flavor, and for that reason it pairs perfectly with lamb. A milder meat (like chicken) would be totally overpowered. The chops were delicious, and quick, so they are good for weeknights.

Cider-Glazed Lamb Chops

from Gourmet Magazine, November 2007

1 cup unfiltered apple cider

2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon mild honey

8 rib lamb chops (about 1″ thick)

1 scallion, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Boil the cider, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and honey in a small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Cool glaze completely. Reserve 2 tablespoons glaze for drizzling on cooked chops. Pre-heat broiler. Pat chops dry and season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the chops on a broiler pan and brush tops with half the glaze. Broil for 3 minutes. Turn the chops, brush with remaining glaze and broil 3 — 4 minutes more for medium-rare chops.

Transfer lamb chops to a plate and let stand for 5 minutes. Drizzle with remaining glaze and sprinkle with scallions. Serves 4.

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