Most people are familiar with fancy-pants, bone-in, Frenched lamb rib chops (which are also absolutely delectable), but don’t realize there are actually three cuts of lamb chops – shoulder (cheapest cut), rib (moderately priced), and the loin (most expensive). The loin chops are thick, meaty, incredibly tender, heart-shaped cuts from the lower portion of the lamb’s back, behind the ribs. Loin chops are best prepared by seasoning simply, but liberally, then searing over high heat. Serve at medium-rare (57°C internal temperature) or medium (62°C) and pair with a full-bodied red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz.
The product you purchase and timing in your process are critical to success in searing mouth-watering lamb loin chops with fresh mint-pistachio pesto. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Purchase great lamb chops. Your local butcher is an expert in recommending great cuts of meat – this individual should be your best friend. If you don’t have access to a butcher, keep in mind three things: thickness, color, and marbling. Lamb chops should be no thinner than 2.5cm, and ideally between 3.8 and 5cm thick. The chops should be pink. The darker the shading towards red indicates an older, less flavorful cut of meat. There should be a good deal of marbling in the lamb. This fat between the muscle fibers amplifies and carries flavor throughout the chop.
Start with the end in mind. Work your way backwards through the recipe so your timing is perfect. Example: The recipe requires 5 minutes of resting the meat before serving, 6-10 minutes for grilling, 1 hour of marinating and 15 minutes to prep. That’s 90 minutes. Only 20-25 minutes is active prep and grilling time. So, use the inactive time wisely. During the marinating time, dry roast the pistachios, prepare the pesto, uncork and drink the wine. During the time allocated to resting the grilled lamb chops, prepare serving plates and drink wine. After serving the loin chops and pesto, drink wine.
This is a low-maintenance recipe. Let your Char-Broil barbecue grill do the work! Sear the chops over medium high, direct heat, with an uncovered grill lid, and only touch the chops three times. First touch: Place the seasoned chops on the grill grates. Second touch: Turn over halfway through grilling (3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, 4-6 minutes per side for medium). Third touch: Remove the chops from the grill and place under a tin foil tent to rest. No other poking, prodding, flipping or managing of the meat is required.
Now off to your local butcher to buy loin chops, then back home for a hot date with your TRU-Infrared™ grill by Char-Broil® and a few bottles of red wine. Cheers!
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Seared lamb loin chops with a fresh mint-pistachio pesto – Incredibly versatile recipe that can be served to a crowd or on date night for two. Simplistic in preparation and execution, but dynamic in presentation and taste.
6-8 lamb loin chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Parsley, chopped, to garnish
- Place the lamb chops in an airtight plastic bag. Mix the olive oil, garlic, thyme, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper thoroughly and add to the bag. Seal and refrigerate 1-4 hours, turning occasionally.
- Remove the chops from refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking, bringing the meat back to near room temperature.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Gently lay the lamb chops over direct heat of the grill’s hottest grates, searing for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare (57°C internal temperature) or 4-6 minutes per side for medium (62°C).
- Remove the chops from the grill and immediately, place them under a tin foil tent for 3-5 minutes to rest.
Serve with Mint-Pistachio Pesto (makes 2 cups).
½ cup salted pistachios
2 cups cups fresh mint, packed
½ cup flat leaf parsley, packed
½ cup fresh basil, packed
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Dry roast the pistachios, in single layer, on a lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until just fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Pulse together all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor.
- Pour the olive oil 1/4 cup at a time, pulsing until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.