In My Kitchen: Lamb, Cherries and Mint

Lamb Chops with Cherries, Balsamic Vinegar and Mint

Well, I’ve never made lamb before. I love it when it’s prepared right. I, personally have just never had the nerve to cook it. If you’ve ever had bad lamb, you’d understand my hesitation. I was shopping the other day and came across some really good looking lamb chops. As I stood over the case looking at them, I wondered, “Can I? and Would it taste good?”  Needless to say, I bought them and I figured, “Well, it will be an adventure. If it’s horrible, I’ll pull out the mac ‘n cheese!”

Searching the web, I found a recipe that looked to complement lamb’s savory meatiness with a balanced sauce of cherry sweetness and balsamic tartness.  For lack of availability, I substituted the sour cherries with frozen dark sweet cherries (thawed) and omitted the 1 tablespoon sugar in the recipe.  This recipe was so incredibly easy to make. My family LOVED it. The lamb was tender and delicate in flavor.  The mint offers a fresh “pop” to the dish.  I highly recommend this recipe the next time you want to impress.

Lamb Chops with Cherry Balsamic Sauce and Mint (courtesy of Epicurious.com)

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) pitted sour cherries (1/2 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 (3/4-inch-thick) rib lamb chops (2 lb total), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallot (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Stir fresh cherries together with sugar and macerate while browning chops. If using frozen cherries, stir with any juices and sugar and thaw, about 1 1/2 hours.

Pat lamb dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté 4 chops, turning over once, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Cook and transfer remaining 4 chops in same manner.

Pour off fat from skillet and add remaining tablespoon oil. Heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shallot, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add cherries with juices, broth, and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits, then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add butter and 2 tablespoons mint, stirring just until butter is melted.

Spoon sauce over chops and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons mint.

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