Sunday, January 26, 2014

Loin Lamb Chops with an Apricot Sauce

One of the best parts of being home after three weeks away is finally having the time to cook again. No matter how good the food is while I'm traveling, I always appreciate being able to be back in my own kitchen. The post-holiday recipe backlog though always seems to get to me. This particular dish was part of an early pre-Christmas dinner. This is a rich, elegant, but relatively simple dinner. It draws flavors from Indian cooking, but they don't overwhelm the lamb. Note this has a marinade so plan accordingly.

One year ago: Boiled Beef Slices in a Fiery Sauce
Two years ago: Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork
Three years ago: Greek-Style Penne with Lamb, Parsnips, Cinnamon, and Tomatoes
Four years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata (still a favorite! We served this at our post-wedding breakfast.)

Loin Lamb Chops with an Apricot Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp coarse salt
8 bone-in loin lamb chops, excess fat trimmed
6 dried apricots, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds from white or green pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Combine ginger paste, garlic paste, and salt in small bowl. Smear on lamb chops, refrigerate covered for 30 minutes to overnight.
2. When you are ready to cook the chops, put apricot slices in small bowl and pour boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir. Cover and cook, stirring as needed, until onions are caramel-brown, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine peppercorns, rock salt, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon in a mortar. Pound to texture of coarse sawdust. Stir in cayenne and paprika.
5. Transfer onions and garlic to blender. Add apricot slices. Pour half of apricot soaking water into jar. Puree.
6. Return onion sauce to saucepan. Pour remaining soaking liquid into blender jar, swish around, and poor into pan.
7. Stir pounded spices into onion sauce. Keep sauce covered over low heat while you cook the lamb chops.
8. Grill or broil lamb chops until meat is seared and cooked medium-rare.
9. Transfer chops to serving platter and ladle sauce over them. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

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