Thursday, July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021

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Looking for outside-the-box choice for grill? Try lamb

Marinating chops gives them nice kick, tender consistency

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Lamb cooks quickly on the grill, and pairs well with a minty pea salad.
Lamb cooks quickly on the grill, and pairs well with a minty pea salad. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Photo Gallery

Hamburgers and chicken are popular choices when it comes to cooking on the grill. Both are relatively inexpensive, can be dressed up or dressed down with various toppings and sauces and don’t take a whole lot of culinary prowess to get a great summer meal on the table.

Yet there are occasions when it’s nice to think outside the box, and throw something a little more inspired on the grill. For those times when you’re willing to spend a bit more on ingredients, you might try this recipe for marinated lamb chops.

Lamb is pretty easy to cook on the grill — it only takes a few minutes on each side to get a nice sear — and if you take the time to marinate it (longer is better), the end result will be so flavorful and tender that even people who think they don’t like lamb will love it.

A long soak in a spicy jalapeno-garlic marinade gives the chops exactly the right amount of kick, with a minty finish.

They’re served atop a quick saute of peas with more mint and a squeeze of lemon.

It all comes together in about 15 minutes, so it works just as well for a mid-week meal as it does for a weekend cookout. I used pork loin chops, which have a little bit more meat (and are less expensive) than a rib chop.

Grilled Lamb Chops With Minted Peas

Serves 4. Adapted from food52.com

For chops

1 large jalapeño pepper

1 clove garlic

½ cup fresh mint

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 ¾-inch-thick lamb loin chops (about 2 pounds, with fatty tips trimmed)

For peas

2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed

1 generous pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pinch sugar

Zest and juice 1 lemon

1 small handful fresh mint, roughly chopped

Lemon wedges, for serving

Make marinade: In a food processor or blender, blitz jalapeño, garlic, mint, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar until smooth.

Place the lamb chops in a resealable plastic bag or glass container with about 1/4 cup of the marinade. Smoosh it around.

Let sit overnight in the fridge if possible, or for at least an hour at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, allow it to warm up to room temperature on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Prepare grill for medium heat.

Grill lamb chops on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, flipping once halfway, or until the internal temperature reads 130 degrees for medium-rare or 135 degrees for medium.

Allow the lamb chops to rest on a plate covered with aluminum foil for 5 minutes before serving.

If you’d rather cook on the stove top, heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes.

Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 31/2 minutes for medium.

While lamb is resting, prepare peas. Throw peas into a saute pan and season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Add lemon zest and juice and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until peas are warmed through. Garnish with mint.

Serve lamb chops alongside warm peas, with wedges of lemon.

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