Lamb seems to be a tricky thing to cook for most people. Either they don’t understand the different cuts, or they are intimidated to prepare it. Lamb is similar to a cow, just on a smaller scale, and much more flavorful in my opinion. It does have a grassy flavor, and sometimes gets a bad rap for being too gamy, but that’s only when you buy meat that isn’t fresh enough, or from a mediocre source.
Lamb Chops are a multi-dimensional food – you can eat them as lollipops with your hands, or with a knife and fork for a more elegant approach. I believe lamb chops do need a little flavor boost before grilling to create an even more succulent meat – that’s where the marinade comes into play.
A simple preparation of a paste-like sauce, that really sticks to the ribs, so to speak, is my marinade of choice. This paste is a simple mixture of mustard, fresh herbs, lemon zest and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Roll the chops around in this mustard base and let them sit in the fridge for a few hours, or up to overnight. This marinade not only enhances the taste, but slightly tenderizes the texture into a supple tangy bite.
Couscous is a side dish that requires almost no work – heat broth, add couscous, cover and turn off heat. I don’t know anything on planet earth that doesn’t come from a frozen box that gets any easier. Toasted pine nuts are a nice nutty touch to stir into the couscous after you fluff it with a fork. I think the combination of earthy lamb with light and airy couscous sets the scene for a perfect meal and even a special Social Sunday!
1 rack of lamb chops, about 8 ribs
1 lemon, sliced
oil for the grill
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh oregano
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup fresh parsley, rough chopped
1. Slice lamb chops into four sections, about 2 ribs per section (you can have the butcher do this for you, if needed). In a glass dish, add all marinade ingredients, stir. Add chops and coat on all sides, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
2. When ready to grill, heat grill to 400 degrees, rub grill with oiled cloth. Remove lamb chops from refrigerator and let set on counter, while grill is heating. In a saucepan, add broth and heat until boiling. Add in couscous and salt, stir. Turn off heat and cover with lid. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet and set aside.
3. Using a paper towel, wipe herbs off of lamb chops – they will burn. Place lamb chops and sliced lemons on grill and cook for 8 minutes on first side, flip over – remove lemons. Cook another 8-10 minutes, or until desired doneness. Remove chops from grill and let rest.
4. Fluff couscous with fork and add toasted pine nuts, stir. Squeeze a few grilled lemons into couscous and spoon onto a platter. Top couscous with lamb chops, grilled lemons and sprinkle with parsley, Enjoy!