Friday, February 1, 2013

Moroccan Spice Lamb Chops

This is a very quick, easy entree, and you probably already have all the spices in your cupboard. I started with a spice blend from a Rachael Ray recipe and only made a few teensy changes. This is very spicy, but not really hot. If you want it hotter, use hot smoked paprika instead of sweet. Increase or decrease the amounts proportionately for fewer or more people. Serves 4

pasture raised lamb loin chops, 1-1/2" thick
2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp sweet paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander or coriander seeds (I prefer ground)
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium heat. Do not put oil on the pan. In a small bowl, combine all the spices and mix thoroughly. Dry the chops with paper towels and cut off any large chunks of fat. Rub both sides of the chop with EVOO and then coat with the spice mixture, using your fingers to press it in. I do both sides twice because I like a nice thick coating and use up all the spice blend.

For medium chops (still pink in the middle but not red) cook 5-6 minutes on each side. If it looks like the spices are starting to burn, just turn the chop and cook on each non-bone side for the last couple of minutes, one per side.

How to tell if the chop is cooked to medium: palm up, spread out your thumb and fingers on one hand as far as they'll go. Press down on the fleshy part below your thumb with the index finger of your other hand. That's what the chop should feel like: firm, but still able to move the flesh. Now relax your thumb and fingers and press down on the fleshy part. That's what rare feels like.

Remove to a plate, loosely tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Click on the photo to see how thick the chop is, and adjust your cooking time if yours are thinner.

Bonus picture. My husband had already started eating and I thought you should see the interior color of what I call medium. He was kind enough to stop, so I didn't want to make him wait longer for me to clean up the plate.

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