Thursday, February 20, 2014

Broiled Lamb Chops, Old School

The truth is you don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed. – Eminem

I’m quoting Eminem. The world is about to end. Actually, I post that quote thinking of friends of mine, one of whom is going through an extremely difficult health crisis. A few weeks ago everything was fine. Now...wham.

You just never know. Life can really deal you a shitty hand of cards some times. As I said to a friend yesterday, sometimes it seems God is a child with a twisted outlook on life. If you believe in such.

This couple had found true happiness together, and love each other beyond words. They've only been married for about a year. And now this. It makes you think, and wonder. I wish there was something I could do, but there isn’t. All the love in the world isn't enough.

So I’m not really in the mood for writing, truth be told. But I haven’t posted for a while, and it is therapeutic. It helps one arrange one's thoughts.

How I link the top half of my post with a recipe has yet to spill from my mind. I guess if anything it’s because this is what I made for my spouse on Valentine’s Day. I love him, like my friend loves her husband. I don’t know what I would be going through if our circumstances were swapped.

To me, this recipe is full of love. My friends never had difficulty showing and appreciating their love for each other. If there’s any lesson at all in this crap it is this: 

Never let a chance go by to show those you love how you feel. Actions – not words. Anyone can say words. Live it.

This meal started a week before Valentine’s Day when I was at Costco. If you like volume, that’s the place to go. Their meat most certainly isn’t anywhere near “local,” but I don’t think their butchers are trained to cut anything thinner than one inch. That makes for great “on the barbie” purchases.

Broiled lamb is a favourite of mine, and really quite simple. If you serve with a couple veggies you’re good for a meal. But cooking of said lamb chops can be a bit tricky, especially if you want them so the pink is “just gone” inside.

I cook my asparagus with a little water, olive oil and salt in a
skillet. Cook until the water evaporates, then brown slightly
with the remaining oil. Season with pepper.
I have a couple rules about lamb chops. First is to never buy them if they’re less than 1” thick (that’s crazy talk); the second is to broil them on the second level down from the broiler rack. That way they slowly cook through without burning to crap on top.

Selecting lamb chops is another “art.” If possible choose loin chops, like I purchased at Costco. They’re the “V” shaped ones with kind of a t-bone in them. I paid $18 for eight. That’s what I used to pay for that much 20 years ago at the butcher.

Also good are rib and sirloin chops. Other chops you will probably have to tenderize in some way.

I marinated my chops for 2 days before cooking. This was not a necessity, but because I was travelling in to Halifax for work it ended up being the most convenient. You don’t have to marinate loin chops at all. A simple rub of chopped garlic, rosemary, cracked black pepper and salt is just fine.

If you’re looking for a nice, easy recipe to demonstrate love to someone you care about, this is one to keep. Mind you, every meal should be a demonstration of love to your family.

Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Garlic
Cooking time: 20-24 min
This was it for a great meal: buttery potatoes, asparagus
and perfectly grilled lamb.
8 lamb loin chops, around 1 to 1.5” thick
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 to 2 tsp cracked black pepper
1.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil*
1 tbsp soy sauce*

Combine all the ingredients except for the meat in a small bowl. Place the chops in a sealable bag or in a dish. Pour the marinade over the op and rub onto the surface of the meat. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning at least once.

Remove the chops from the marinade and preheat the broiler element in your oven. Place the hops on a broiling rack and move the top rack in the oven to the second closet to the element. Not the closest.

Place the chops in the oven. They should be about 5 or 6 inches from the heat. Broil for 10-12 minutes on one side; turn and then repeat for the other. Internal temperature should be about 140°F. 

If you wish, move the oven rack up close and broil for about a minute to brown the top. The plus side of broiling a bit away from the element is the chops cook through before burning. The negative is they don’t brown dramatically.

If using a barbecue, cook over direct flame for about 6-7 minutes, and then move the chops away from direct flame for an additional 3-4. Same internal temperature.

I always find asparagus and fluffy mashed potatoes go well with lam chops, but it’s entirely up to you.

*If not marinating, you can omit the oil and soy. Just combine the other ingredients and rub onto the surface of the meat before broiling or grilling.


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