Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Moroccan" Lamb Chops

I've never been to Morocco, and I can't say I know anything about Moroccan cuisine, but a friend of ours went to Morocco and brought back some spices. One of them was a spice mixture called Ras el hanout. My wife wanted to eat lamb chops, and she gave me no other instructions, so I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to use this unique spice blend.

I rubbed plenty of salt, pepper, and the spice blend on the lamb, and let it sit while the oven was heating to 425° F. I wanted the spices to be obvious, so I covered it generously. Once the oven was ready, I roasted the lamb to an internal temperature of 135° F, maybe about 30 min. At the same time, I popped in some oiled garlic cloves to roast.

To make a side dish, I did a take on Thomas Keller's smashed marble potatoes. I microwaved some previously boiled potatoes (which were saved from a previous dinner), smashed them, and cooked them in a generous amount of butter, along with the finished roasted garlic cloves from the oven. In addition to the potatoes, I simply sauteed swiss chard (from my patio garden) with garlic.

The lamb was full-flavored with a hard hitting spice component. Unfortunately, the texture was a little tougher and chewier than I would've liked. I think lamb chops are better off done more to a medium temperature. Next time, I will have to try it at 140° F. Paired with 2005 Volver Tempranillo, the wine brought out the spices in the lamb and served as a nice fruity foil to the inherent gamy flavor of the lamb.