Cola becomes not-too-sweet sauce for chops

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To the online chatter who took umbrage at my hesitancy to endorse a cola-glazed turkey for the holidays: My bad.

This preparation has helped me see the light. It's a little magic; a quick reduction of the cola becomes a not-too-sweet sauce, enhanced with a touch of anise. Next time I make lamb chops this way, I might add the scallions just at the end so they retain some of their crispness.

Look for shoulder blade chops; they are bone-in, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick and meant to be picked up and gnawed on before you're through with them.

Serve the chops with small potatoes; the ones shown above were parboiled for 5 minutes, drained, drizzled lightly with olive oil, sprinkled with paprika and roasted in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes — all while the lamb chops were cooking.

Lamb Chops With Scallions in a Cola Glaze

4 servings

Adapted from “Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors,” by Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise (Workman, 2013).

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 lamb shoulder chops (about 2¾ pounds total)

Kosher salt or sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 bunches scallions

1 tablespoon anise seed

1½ cups regular Coca-Cola (a 12-ounce can; do not use Diet Coke or Coke Zero; may substitute Pepsi-Cola)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Season the chops lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Once the oil shimmers, arrange 4 of the chops in the skillet; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned in spots, then turn them over and cook for 3 minutes or just until browned on the second side. Transfer to a platter; the meat will not be cooked through. Repeat with the remaining oil and lamb chops, transferring the chops to the plate as well.

Meanwhile, trim off and discard the root ends and dark-green parts of the scallions, also discarding any loose outer layers. Cut the remaining white and light-green parts crosswise into ½-inch pieces.

Add the anise seed to the empty skillet, stirring quickly to dislodge any browned bits; toast the spice for about a minute. Then stir in the cola and scallions, being careful to avoid the rush of steam from the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced and the scallions have softened.

Return all of the chops to the skillet, turning and basting so they are well coated. Once most of the liquid has disappeared, the lamb chops should be evenly glazed yet still pink (medium-rare to medium) at the center.

Transfer to a platter, heaping the scallions on top. Pour the pan juices over; serve right away.

Per serving: 510 calories, 50 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 26 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 165 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar