Grill lamb loin chops like mini porterhouse steaks

The Whole Dish podcast: Reverse-sear method ensures even medium-rare doneness

“It’s time to take another look at lamb.”

The headline posted a few days after Easter — an occasion when many newspaper readers may take note — came late to the sustainable and eat-local-food party. Make that about a decade late.

Anyone who’s followed this blog knows that lamb is mentioned on a fairly regular basis as one of my family’s go-to meats, obtained from local 4-H clubbers. Over the past decade, I’ve found myself evangelizing less frequently and instead cheerleading when people tell me they’ve recently come around to long-snubbed lamb.

Such was the case with friends who recently remarked that they just purchased their first whole lamb from a local source and they couldn’t believe how good it was. Indeed, now go out and spread the word!

That was the tone of a Washington Post story that ran in the April 24 edition of A la Carte (see the e-edition). Lamb is affordable for feeding a crowd, more forgiving than a turkey and globally embraced by just about every culinary tradition, save for the American mainstream.

Food writers across the country are echoing the same sentiments. The Detroit Free Press recently pointed out that lamb loin chops come in value packs at warehouse stores and are an entry point for the reverse-sear method that’s become a popular preparation for beef steaks. The 4-ounce loin chops are essentially a miniature version of the porterhouse steak and should be cooked accordingly (never beyond medium). Choosing thicker chops (about 2 inches) guards against overcooking.

Because lamb loin chops are small, they can be marinated in a narrow window prior to cooking, as little as an hour beforehand and up to overnight. Recipe testers for the Free Press cited about three hours as plenty of time.

Like this blog’s previous post featuring Argentinian-style beef kebabs, this straightforward but flavorful recipe is one to add to your grilling-season repertoire. Play up loin chops’ resemblance to the porterhouse by cutting the meat from the bone and serving it alongside, perhaps with a drizzle of balsamic reduction or the kebab recipe’s chimichurri.

Tribune News Service

Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme Marinated Lamb Chops

2 pounds lamb loin chops, about 10

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Juice of one lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Balsamic glaze, for garnish (optional)

Place the lamb in a dish. Set aside. In a glass measuring cup, combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Whisk to combine.

Pour marinade over lamb chops. Turn chops over to cover them completely. Cover dish with plastic wrap, refrigerate and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove and uncover lamb about 1 hour before you are ready to grill.

Preheat grill to low-medium heat — about 300 F. You are going to cook chops at low heat first, then sear them over high heat.

Place lamb chops on grill. Close lid and grill for about 10 minutes or until chops reach an internal temperature of about 110 F. Increase heat on another side of grill to high. Move lamb chops over to the hotter side of grill and sear on each side for about 2 minutes, just so you get a nice crust on them. For medium-rare, internal temperature will be about 130 F. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Place lamb chops on a platter, garnish with the rosemary sprigs and serve with the optional balsamic glaze.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted by the Detroit Free Press from www.delishdlites.com.

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