Lamb Chops : Garam Masala Port Reduction : Braised Cucumbers : Roasted Cherry Tomatoes : Potatoes and Carrots

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Finally back with another recipe. It’s taking me forever to edit photos and put together a post these days, must be the lethargy that comes with the summer heat! It is the first day of summer and I want to start this season with one simple lamb dish, some tomatoes, some carrots, cucumbers, and a few other summery goodies to welcome a time when hordes of shrieking kids rush to the swimming pools at apartment complexes in the early hours of weekend days to bring joy and suffering to the nearby tenants.  Other things come with summer too, like difficulty to finding parking near the beach or great produce at the local farmer’s markets. It’s a great time for quick and fresh recipes, salads, light soups and anything that can be thrown on a grill.

I’ll stop rambling and get back to today’s dish. As a twist, I’ve included new flavors, just a hint of garam masala to bring the port reduction to another level, very fragrant,  notes of cinnamon and fennel, I’ve also added some mint, all wonderful flavors that go so well with lamb: 

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Gear:

cutting board + paring knife and chef knife (or whichever you like)
1 heavy cast iron searing pan
oven preheat at 350f
butcher twine
medium sauce pan or pot for boiling water
strainer (strain sauce and other things)
spoon for tasting
long needle (for checking potato tenderness or use knife)
bowl for straining sauce (used another pan)
bowl for holding cooked carrots and potatoes
bowl for holding cooked cucumbers
tongs
kitchen towels

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Ingredients per component:

Lamb:

3-4 double lamb chops (one rib removed)
grapeseed oil for searing
S+P for seasoning

Pan Sauce:

2 tsp garam masala (my recipe here!)
12 golden raisins
1 tps dry mint
1 garlic minced finely
8-10 cherry tomatoes (whole)
1 shallot minced finely
2 Tbsp butter
150 ml port wine
Kosher alt as needed

Garnish:

4-6 thyme sprigs
4 baby carrots medium dice
4 small red creamer potatoes
2 small cucumbers (english, japanese or persian)
1/2 lemon juiced (braised cucumbers)
2 Tbsp melted butter for beurre monte + pinch of kosher salt + 2 tsp water
Kosher salt for adding to boiling water

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Method (in order of preparation):

Braised Cucumbers:

01: heat up heavy pan add butter (medium high heat)
02: sear diced cucumber until little browned (5 mins)
03: add salt and remove from heat
04: strain excess butter and place in bowl
05: add salt to taste

Roasted tomatoes:

01: Wipe searing pan clean (don’t burn yourself)
02: heat up pan add oil (medium high heat)
03: add tomatoes whole
04: add thyme sprigs
05: sauté for about 5 minutes, tossing and not letting thyme burn
06: remove tomatoes form pan, place in a bowl
07: add some salt

Potatoes:

01: boil water in a sauce pan or pot
02: add some salt (about 1/2 Tbsp)
03: add peeled potatoes
04: cook until fork tender (I use a needle to prevent potato from breaking)
05: place in a bowl with beurre monte and glaze, reserve

Carrots:

01: in same boiling water, toss in the carrots
02: cook until al dente, some bite should remain
03: place in a bowl with beurre monte and glaze, reserve

Lamb Chops:

01: tie as shown in picture, this helps preserve the shape *
02: season right before searing (S+P to taste)
03: place heavy pan over high heat
04: add grapeseed or vegetable oil
05: when oil begins to smoke, sear chops
06: 2 minutes per side, all faces, use tongs seat chops on their sides
07: remove chops and place in a different pan to go in the oven
08: place chops in oven for 5 minutes, then remove, let rest

Pan Sauce:

01: return pan used to sear chops to stove (fond*)
02: heat up, add shallots, garlic, gram masala, raisins and cook for a minute or 2
03: deglaze with port wine start reducing
04: add butter, keep reducing, adjust salt
05: when syrupy, remove pan from heat
06: adjust consistency adding water if sauce too dry
07: add mint
08: strain sauce, reserve

Plating:

01: place some cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots
02: add 2 potatoes on each plate
03: dress with some beurre monte, not much
04: rest 1 lamb chop over potatoes, standing up
05: pour port reduction over chop and around veggies

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Notes and considerations:

Lamb chops are a very tender cut of meat. They don’t need extended cooking periods. I like them medium rare, nice and pinky in the center with a very well browned outside. Allow to rest for 5-8 minutes before plating and serving

For this dish I decided to serve 2 chops per plate, I removed one of the bones for presentation. The reason I like serving 2 chops instead of one, well, 2 reasons, one being, one chop tends to be too thin, not enough meat for one person, and two and probably more important, not enough meat to get a nice medium rare finish.

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A few more notes:

I tied them up to keep the shape of the chop closer to its original’s. Because having removed one of the ribs will make the double chop lack the necessary structure to hold its own shape.

“Fond”  that’s a word you see here and there in related to cooking, it really simply means the brown stuff that is stuck on  pan after searing or sautéing. There is wonderful flavor there, and one good way to get that flavor off the pan and into your food is by deglazing which means adding a liquid to the pan while is hot, or starting with a cold pan, adding the liquid and bring to a boil. Eventually the fond will detach from the bottom and mix with the liquid. That’s the basics behind the quick pan sauce in this recipe.

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Hope you enjoyed this recipe, it is a quick and delicious way to get your cooking on this summer! Will be back soon with more recipes and cooking stuff, take care in the meantime! cheers!

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24 comments

  1. This looks absolutely amazing! Yay! We both did lamb chops! Mine were double chops too, cut differently though. Frenched, I would never have though to tie them with twine to keep they’re shape together. Brilliant! And the color you got on them combined with the vegetables is mouthwatering. Thanks for the cooking tips and for the great recipe!

    1. so glad you enjoyed my post and you’re so very welcome! the idea of tying the chops… i have to say, not mine! I stole this from Thomas Keller and I’m sure other chefs out there do that as well. This is how the french laundry serves them, and I thought I’d have a little fun and present the dish in a similar way. These chops would have gone so well with chimichurri like on your post, I will have to try that soon! I love chimichurri! One thing I’ve noticed with that sauce, it is better the next day, like something magical happens over night! 🙂

      1. Funny! I lift all kinds of techniques from Thomas Keller’s books because they work! No shame there. I was just thinking that you needed some chimichurri on the table 🙂 It does get better over night too! I thought the mint would oxidize more, but it was better than anticipated.

        1. If you are gonna learn something, better learn it from somebody who’s well stablished in his field, right?. I have a lot of respect for Thomas Keller. I know there are chefs out there that rank higher (don’t care much for this really), but I like Keller’s respect for cooking and his ideas for dishes, simplicity, always elegant and classy.

          1. I agree 100%. I love that he is a perfectionist and an absolute classicist. I also like that even though his instructions are super demanding, the flavors are clean and there is no foam nonsense. Someone very good to learn from indeed.

          2. without going too far, Julia Child is a great classic example. I love books by James Peterson, every book from his Ive read or browsed is excellent. Anthony Bourdaine, as crazy and honest as he might be, is another great example of hard cord no nonsense good cooking.

          3. I have to look into James Peterson more. As for Julia, all of her recipes work — and that is saying something! There is a decidedly 60’s feel to the recipes though, but they were really crafted for a time when there was less variety and more substitutions had to be made.

            I completely agree about Anthony Bourdain. His crafted persona completely overshadows the fact that his Les Halles book is classic, straightforward, and very, very French.

          4. yeah, Julia’s recipes are outdated, but what’s not outdated is her understanding of the basic fundaments of cooking. Her books are intense and challenging, I couldn’t imagine making it alive through one of her books. But there are tons of great lessons that still apply to modern cooking. Plus she was hilarious 😉

  2. Absolutely beautiful caramelization on the lamb! I love the simplicity of this dish. As always, beautiful photos, and meticulous, clear instructions.

    1. Thank you Susan, I really appreciate your comments! yes, this dish is so simple to make. I remember thinking while I was putting together this post… if only I didn’t have to take these photos and take down notes, I’d be done in half the time 🙂 It truly is a dish anyone can bang out in 45 minutes tops.

  3. Once again, just love everything about this … the way you have tided the lamb chops – have only seen that once before. Stunning and for me lamb is the best meat there is.

      1. Yes, so true and lamb can be very rustic too … I love a tender lamb shank with musty vegetables and mash .. with a musty flavorful red wine and rosemary sauce.

  4. This looks fantastic, Paul. I never would have thought to add garam masala — which explains why I’ll be tossing almost as much as what I had bought. Your port wine reduction sounds delicious and your plating was very well done. A great post!

    1. So glad you like it John! Makes me happy every time you visit! Thank you! Lamb and garam masala go so well together, I would have never guessed, but then I made one recipe for a series of posts I’m working on and I was really impressed. I thought I was gonna hate it, quite the opposite.

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