Saturday, November 21, 2009
Spectacular Lamb Shoulder Chops
This is not an actual picture of the chops I served. Had I known they
were going to be so wonderful, I would have taken photographs.
Shoulder meat from the lamb must be given some attention to enjoy it at a dazzling level!
by Charlie Leck
Here’s how to prepare fabulous shoulder chops!
On Thursday, my wife set out some lamb shoulder and arm chops to thaw. She suggested I prepare them for dinner if they thawed in time and she warned me that our butcher said that these were a bit inferior in comparison to the meat we sell our customers, so he had marked them NOT FOR SALE. It sounded like a challenge to me, so I decided not to rush them and to hold them for Friday evening instead.
Early Friday morning I prepared a marinade for the thawed chops. I mixed the following ingredients in a bowl as the marinade:
· Soy Sauce (quite a bit of it)
· Vinegar (ordinary cooking vinegar) – a few tablespoons!
· 2 Tablespoons of classic olive oil
· A healthy amount of ground black pepper corns
· A dash or two of salt
· A shake or two of paprika
· A third of a teaspoon of ginger
· 4 garlic cloves minced and mashed
· a third of a cup of red wine I had already taken the chops out of the refrigerator and I was allowing them to warm up some. I took a sharp paring knife and cut little slits all over both sides of each chop. Two of the chops were from the shoulder and two were arm chops, which are cut from the top of the arm section of the lamb shoulder. If you’d like an explanation of various chop cuts from the lamb, go to this illustrated web page.
I put the chops in a single layer in a roasting dish. I then poured the marinade evenly over them and rubbed it in a bit. I sealed the dish with a plastic wrap and allowed them to marinade in the refrigerator about 4 hours and then turned them over and used a table spoon to drip marinade from the roasting dish on the tops of the chops. Then, I allowed them to marinade another 4 hours.
Three hours before cooking, I took the chops out and allowed them to warm to room temperature.
Here’s how I cooked the chops.
I put a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and got the pan and oil very hot. I then browned the chops very quickly on both sides and then put them in a roasting pan and put them in a preheated oven set at only 200 degrees. I allowed the chops to bake for about an hour and a half.
Anne had offered to prepare some fresh, wild rice. I also allowed some fresh brussel sprouts to warm to room temperature. I put the sprouts in a steaming dish, sprinkled them with a touch of salt and pepper and scattered some fresh raspberries on top of them and steam-cooked them to a nice tenderness.
I served the chops with a small French baguette and nice Italian Chianti wine. How attractive they looked served with the wild rice and the brussel sprouts and wilting raspberries.
When I took my first bite, I wished aloud that our nice butcher was dining with us so that he could taste one of the most wonderful lamb chops I have ever eaten. Damn, it’s embarrassing and vain to say it, but they were absolutely spectacular.
I am certain that the key to this particular dish was cooking it very slowly and browning and sealing the chops first.
Lamb from Sheepy Hollow at Native Oaks Farm – there’s nothing like it!