Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lamb Chops with an Almond-Poppy Seed Sauce

Our meat CSA recently overhauled their packages. At first I wasn't thrilled with the change as the only package that makes sense for us is 6lbs of meat for the month (2 of which are ground). Additionally, while I like the CSA concept, they don't always give us the best variety of meat. I hesitantly renewed our box and decided to hope for the best with the new system. Luckily, for this month at least, my fears of meat boredom were unfounded. I opened our box to find ground veal (veal seems very hard to find here), beef short ribs, and a lamb loin center chop. The nice cut of lamb was such a rare treat that I didn't want to risk a recipe from any book that wasn't tried and true. This recipe surpassed my expectations with the smoky cardamom flavor and nutty almond-poppy sauce. I found it a bit odd that the almond blend is removed before the sauce is finished and might try adding the water to simmer it all together next time, but as it, it creates a lovely spice paste on the meat. This is a meal worthy of a special occasion.

One year ago: Carrots with Wilted Spinach in a Peanut-Coconut Sauce
Two years ago: Lentils with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola
Three years ago: Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie

Lamb Chops with an Almond-Poppy Seed Sauce (from 660 Curries)
1/4 cup garlic paste
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt, divided
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds from black pods, ground
1 lb rack of lamb, cut into chops
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, ground until powder-like
1 tbsp white poppy seeds, ground
1/2 tsp cayenne
6 tbsp mustard oil or canola oil
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp Punjabi garam masala

1. Combine garlic paste, fennel, 1 tsp of salt, and cardamom. Smear on chops. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes - overnight.
2. Combine almonds, poppy seeds, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt in small bowl.
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of chops and sear until light brown on each side, 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and cover with foil. Repeat with remaining chops.
4. Wipe out skillet with paper towel and add remaining 2 tbsp oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir-fry until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
5. Add almond blend and allow to lightly brown, 1 - 2 minutes. Add mixture to chops on platter.
6. Pour 1 cup water into skillet and add cilantro and garam masala. Bring to a boil and let thicken, 1 - 2 minutes. Pour over chops and serve.

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