Recipe: Loin Lamb Chops with Jalapeno Preserves
This entry is not for vegetarians.
Nope. I wasn't really a fan of lamb. I often found it gamy (I love this spelling of "gamey" by the way) and chewy, which I always thought was a little odd, given that the little lambs had not done a lot of frolicking. How could they get so "lamby" tasting? But I learned with this recipe that it's not that I don't like lamb. It's that I have expensive taste.
The loin chop of a lamb is the most tender part. In fact, I kind of loved this chart here. Browse! Look at where the cut of meat comes from! I do love a good chart.
Anyway, the loin chop is actually quite mild and tender when cooked medium rare (or almost rare in my case; I admit it, I like my meat to be seared on the outside and quite pink in the middle--I realize I am courting disaster here, but at least I will have lived a life of good meats). Bobby Flay steers you correctly in insisting on the wood (or charcoal) grilling (he does give the option of broiling, but that would be wrong). I am not much of a master at the grill, so I had lots of guidance from the husband. Because of the husband's proclivity towards the grill (we have two (!) in the backyard), we own quite a few books guiding the cooking of meat over the open flame. By the end of the summer, I imagine I will be the one giving chimney lighting lessons and meat flipping demonstrations. In the mean time, I was well supervised.
I also learned a little about lamb slaughtering. Baby lamb and spring lamb are milk fed: while baby lambs are usually slaughtered between 6-8 weeks old and a spring lamb is slaughtered at 3-5 months. If your lamb is not designated baby or spring, then it was slaughtered between 6-12 months. Anything older than a year, it's a yearling, and anything older than 2 years is mutton.
A note on the jalapeno preserves. Wow. This makes a lot. But it's quite good and can be used on cornbread. I seeded the jalapenos when I made mine, and I think you could leave some of the seeds in. All that vinegar and sugar took a lot of the heat out.
Finally, I know this entire entry sounds blasphemous, especially considering the years and years I spent not eating meat (including shunning anything with chicken broth in it). But ten years ago, I came to California with the husband (then the boyfriend) for Thanksgiving with the parents. I sat at the table, not tempted at all by the turkey or gravy or stuffing. I ate the yams, the Brussels sprouts, the mashed potatoes and the pumpkin pie with relish and glee. I had almost ten years of vegetarianism under my belt. I didn't even think about meat.
I was alone in the kitchen tidying up. And there it was.
And it tasted so good.
So today I raise a toast (with a cup of tea, which I am holding as I write this) to meats everywhere--be they lamb, turkey, beef, or pork. Although, I am still afraid of eating rabbit, and I will take a pass on the squab. Hurray for meat.
(By the way--I realize (dear singular reader) that I did not get this entry up last week, but I did make all of these dishes then. We have had cause to celebrate as the husband landed employment after seven months of searching. This little dinner was part of the week of celebrations, and I have been remiss in staying atop the blog. You understand, of course.)
Loin Lamb Chops
8 loin lamb chops
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Jalapeno Preserves (see below)
1. Prepare a wood or charcoal fire and let it burn down to embers.
2. Brush the chops lightly with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 minutes per side for medium rare, or to your liking.
3. Bring the preserves to room temperature and serve with the lamb chops. Allow 2 tablespoons per serving.
6 cups (Bobby Flay says, "Do not multiply or divide this recipe; it won't work." Okay.)
3 medium red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
6 jalapenos, minced
4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3.4 cup liquid fruit pectin
1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over high heat, combine the peppers, jalapenos, sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over.
2. Turn off the heat and add the pectin, mixing well. Turn the heat on a again to high and cook until the mixture comes back to a boil. Pour into sterilized jars and seal according to the manufacturer's directions. May also be refrigerated, covered, for up to 6 months in a nonreactive bowl or jar.