But then I finally got a hold of some beautiful lamb loin chops from Rainbow Meadow Farm. Score! I had been wanting something different, and we hadn't had lamb in a really, really long time.
First, don't get intimidated if you've never cooked lamb before. Lamb is such a staple in other countries, it's a shame it's not as familiar to people in the U.S. I find the best cuts and quality of lamb almost always can be found with local farms (I mean, it's so rare to even find cuts of lamb in a typical grocery store, at least here in my part in NC). The biggest thing to remember, as with any top cut of meat, is to not overcook it.
So, with the grill vacationing out of the cold in the garage (and I certainly wasn't venturing out in the cold and rain we had the other day), I took out my trusty cast-iron. Some herbs and olive oil, and about 40 minutes later, we had a terrific meal. I set out to make an entirely balsamic reduction, to discover that I was really low on balsamic. Yikes! So, I used the rest of my balsamic (about 1/2 cup), the rest of my red wine vinegar (about 1/4 cup) and 1/4 cup white vinegar for the reduction (see below). Still turned out delish! Phew! Next time, I need to check my pantry before I start cooking.
I paired the seared lamb chops with some steamed local broccoli, and roasted mixed root veggies (also local).
Seared lamb chops with balsamic reduction
- 4 lamb loin chops (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
- 3/4 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced sweet onion
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper both sides of chops. Set aside.
- Mix rosemary, basil and thyme in a small bowl. Rub mixture on lamb chops.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Place chops in skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side (medium to medium-rare) or until desired doneness. Place finished chops on a sheet or platter and keep warm in oven.
- Add onions (can replace with shallots) to skillet and cook until they start to become translucent. Add vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan for any bits of lamb. Add chicken broth; continue to cook and stir over medium heat until reduced by half. Remove from heat, stir in butter. Spoon over chops and serve.