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Perfectly cooked lamb chops are a culinary wonder to be savored.  And the Rhubarb-Hibiscus Bourbon Sauce is a perfect union; they are a natural together.  The slight gaminess of the lamb, the lavender in the Herbes de Provence, the tartness of the rhubarb…this dish is Spring!  013Lamb is a wonderful meat, but so many people have eaten it badly prepared and overcooked.  Please give it another chance.  American lamb tends to be less gamy and slightly larger than Australian lamb, but both are good.  If you choose to use rib chops, try to get the double rib chops.  They will be much thicker, about 2-3 inches and will not overcook as easily.  Lamb should be cooked to no more than medium, but rare is best (the opening picture is perfect!).  If you don’t like meat quite that pink, but you still want to enjoy lamb, then try stews, tagines or braised dishes, where the meat will be well-done, like falling-off-the-bone done.  This too, is a delicious way to enjoy lamb, but lamb chops need to be very pink to be good.  To cook a lamb chop perfectly you need a heavy pan, cast iron is perfect and you want that pan hot, with little wisps of smoke coming off of it when you drop those chops in…remember, hot and heavy, baby!

Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy to Medium
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  • 4 thick-cut loin lamb chops (about 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac or grated lemon zest
  • 3 cloves garlic, put through a press
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, orange juice concentrate, Herbes, sumac and garlic.  Stir well; let stand for 15 minutes to allow the herbs to reconstitute and the flavors to blend.

Season the chops with some salt and a few grindings of black pepper.  Smear about 1/2 teaspoon (about 1/8 of the mixture per side) on each side of a chop; repeat until both sides of all 4 chops are coated.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).

Heat a bit of olive oil in a cast iron (or other extremely heavy skillet). You will want it hot! Turn on the exhaust fan over your stove, and when the oil begins to smoke, drop the chops in, cut sides (the sides with the rub on) perpendicular to the pan. You are going to sear the edges first, about 1 minute total. Now turn the chops cut-side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn and repeat, but only cook for 2 minutes on the second side. This whole process will take about 5-6 minutes. The chops will be rare. Remove them from the pan and transfer to a platter; cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Do NOT skip the resting period. Serve immediately with Rhubarb-Hibiscus Bourbon Sauce.

NOTE:  If you prefer the chops more well-done, immediately after searing them, place the pan in a preheated 400ºF oven for 3-5 minutes, or simply leave the chops in the pan, loosely cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. If you opt for the oven, then you will still need to rest the chops.

Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015.  All rights reserved.

010After you mix the rub together, let it sit on the counter for about 15-20 minutes.  This allows the herbs to reconstitute and the flavors to meld.






Then you drop some of the rub on each chop, about 1/2 teaspoon, smear it on one cut side, turn the chop and repeat on the other side.  Cover and chill for several hours, but overnight is optimum.  Do NOT return the chops to room temperature before cooking, particularly if they are thinner chops.  These are decently thick, about 1 1/4 inches.  039

You’re going to sear the sides first, about 30 seconds on each meaty side…loin chops tend to be triangular shaped, with 2 meaty sides and a bone side.






Next, place the herb-side of the chop in the pan and sear for 3 minutes,






turn (I use a spatula for this, to help keep the herbs on the meat.) and sear 2 minutes on the second side.  If they are thicker chops, I add about 30-45 seconds per half-inch.  You can always cook them a bit more, but once they are over-cooked….



076For our vegetable, I sautéed snow peas, pea shoots and frozen peas or Three Phases of Spring to serve on the side.  Isn’t the green pretty?





I prefer to serve the Rhubarb-Hibiscus Bourbon Sauce under the lamb chops.  The sauce is even better made ahead and reheated and it’s incredibly verastile, too.  I use this sauce with leg of lamb, as well.  It is wonderful on leftover lamb, which we roll into a large pita with some of this sauce and some tzatziki, but that’s another posting!

This is a great company dish.  The chops are best marinated overnight, the pea mixture is last minute, but it will take less time than the lamb and you’re right there anyway.  The sauce can be done well ahead of time and chilled or frozen.  The pilaf can be made ahead, adding the pistachios just before serving.  It’s pretty, it’s screams springtime and it’s truly delectable.  Bring on those tulips!