Fri 18 Sep 2009
Posted by Bria under Main Dishes
As I have mentioned, we’ve been enjoying Shabbat dinners on a regular basis. Jewish or not, I think everyone should give the Shabbat dinner concept a go. You don’t have to light candles or say prayers, just try on the meal for size. It doesn’t have to be Friday, either, though I think the tandem formality and comfort of the meal creates a beautiful bookend to a hectic work week. Set a table. Pour some wine. Turn off the television and the phones. Enjoy the company of another person. Prepare something delicious and savor each bite. If you want to learn how to eat, how to really enjoy food, this is a good place to start.
Last Friday, we had lamb chops with our challah and wine. John threw together one of his beautiful chopped salads and we were set for a fine meal. Though we both intended to do more work after dinner, somehow the soft glow of the Shabbat candles made it impossible to abandon the remainder of the challah. So we sat there, making our way through a bottle of wine and the rest of the bread, talking and laughing about everything and nothing. You couldn’t plan a more perfect evening if you tried.
Though it was the challah that kept us at the table for over an hour, the lamb shone brilliantly in its own right. Lamb is a lovely addition to your regular meat routine. I’ve been delighted to find packages of 8-10 beautiful little chops at Costco in recent weeks. You can also usually find them at the meat counter in your regular grocery store. Plan to serve between 3 and 5 chops per person as there is typically a smallish teardrop of meat on each bone.
I like my lamb to be simple and very rare so that the wild, rowdy flavor comes through without a lot of interference. This sauce is a basic ratio that will handle 8 small chops – adjust up or down as needed. Note that although the chops will be fully coated in the sauce in the beginning, much of it will cook away. Fear not, the blissful melody of the mustard and olive oil will still sing out in every bite, especially the bite you follow with a final morsel of challah.
Mustard-Glazed Lamb Chops
Ingredients – sauce
4 T Dijon mustard
2 T olive oil
1 T seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil for the pan
Lamb chops, separated into individual chops (I use a cleaver)
- Mix the sauce
- Coat the chops
- Heat the oil
- Sear the meat
Mix the mustard, 2 T olive oil, and bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Set the chops in the bowl, bone-end up so that the teardrop of meat is resting in the sauce. Using a spoon or your fingers, work the sauce around so that it coats each side of the meat.
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil and heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Carefully add the chops, one at a time, laying them gently in a single layer. If you can’t fit them all in the pan at once (doubtful if you have more than 4 or so), do them in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan – you can keep the first batch warm on a plate under a tent of foil while the others cook.
Sear the lamb until the side facing down is gently browned – between 2 and 5 minutes. While they cook, season lightly with salt and black pepper. Once the first side is done, turn each chop over with a pair of tongs and let the other side sear. Be forewarned that there will be a decent amount of oil popping. It will sting if it hits you, but that’s just life. If it really hurts, hold your hand under cold water for a few seconds.
As the chops finish searing, remove them to a clean plate and add additional chops to the pan until you have cooked them all. Serve immediately.