Lamb rib chops give you han­dle on din­ner

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE -

BON­NIE S. BEN­WICK

Lamb rib chops are all fancy when pre­sented as a rack of lamb, their bony ends trimmed to a fare-thee-well. But when they’re sep­a­rated, eas­ily, they be­come es­sen­tially meat lol­lipops — the smaller ones of­ten fea­tured as heavy hors d’oeu­vres at the kind of par­ties from which you don’t go home hun­gry.

At the size you find most of­ten at the su­per­mar­ket, the chops also can turn into the kind of ca­sual, pick-it-up-and-eat-it meal that cooks in less than 10 min­utes. Here, the meat is pan-seared to a golden brown and left to rest for a bit while you fin­ish a sim­ple sauce in the blender.

All that’s left to do is to grab the chops by their untrimmed “han­dles” and dip the meaty ends again and again, un­til you only have bones to gnaw on.

To check the in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture, you’ll need a meat ther­mome­ter (prefer­ably in­stant-read).

Serve with a quick saute of fresh spinach or Asian greens with toma­toes.

Lamb Chops With Lime Sauce For the sauce:

¼ cup plain Greek yo­gurt

1 lime

2 cloves gar­lic

1 medium shal­lot

1 ta­ble­spoon but­ter

1 ta­ble­spoon sugar

½ tea­spoon kosher salt ¼ tea­spoon ground black pep­per

1½ cups chicken broth

1 thick slice coun­try bread (op­tional) For the lamb:

6 to 8 lamb rib chops

Kosher salt and ground black pep­per Ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

For the sauce: Place the yo­gurt in fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl to drain.

Mean­while, zest the lime, then cut the lime in half and squeeze a ta­ble­spoon of juice into a liq­uid mea­sur­ing cup.

Coarsely chop the gar­lic and shal­lot. Melt the but­ter in a medium saucepan over medi­um­low heat. Stir in the shal­lot and cook 2 min­utes, then stir in the gar­lic and cook 2 min­utes.

Add the sugar, salt, pep­per, half the lime zest and all the broth; in­crease the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stir­ring to make sure the sugar has dis­solved. Cook 12 min­utes, or un­til the liq­uid has re­duced by half. Re­move from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Let cool while you cook the chops.

Heat a large cast-iron skil­let over high heat for 5 min­utes. Sea­son the chops gen­er­ously on both sides with salt and pep­per. Turn on the ex­haust fan or open a win­dow, as cook­ing will cre­ate some smoke. Add a driz­zle of oil to the skil­let, then add the chops. Sear 3 min­utes on the first side for a nicely browned crust, then turn and cook 2 to 3 min­utes on the sec­ond side (for medium-rare; reg­is­ter­ing about 130 de­grees on an in­stant-read ther­mome­ter). Trans­fer to a platter and cover loosely to keep warm.

Trans­fer the cooled saucepan mix­ture

Lamb Chops with Lime Sauce

to a blender. Add the yo­gurt and puree un­til smooth. (For a thicker sauce, tear the bread into pieces and add to the blender, then puree again, un­til smooth.)

Pour into a serv­ing bowl, then stir in the re­main­ing lime zest.

Serve the chops warm, with the sauce. Makes 2 to 3 serv­ings. Adapted from Bal­a­boosta: Bold Mediter­ranean Recipes to Feed the Peo­ple You Love by Ei­nat Ad­mony

The Wash­ing­ton Post/DEB LIND­SEY

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