Quick break from my usual faves rib eye, pork belly and short rib. Now… lamb lollipops are somewhere down the list of my fav meats, partially because it is so damn tiny, I swear I can eat one rib in two bites. Surprisingly enough though if you get your lamb well done it doesn’t get as tough as beef! So if you cook it right, it’s really rich and tender, and if there’s a bit of fat – even better!
I loved the marination of these lamb lollipops, Moroccan style with lots of spices, mint and bit of lemon juice. Usually I find lamb to have a gamey taste and this was the opposite, really delish! It’s so easy, just marinate the night before and when you’re ready to eat give it a quick sear in olive oil and pop it in the oven.
Now I paired this with Ottolenghi’s Couscous & Tomatoes and it was CRAZY GOOD! My mouth is watering just thinking about how well they went together. The couscous was perfect: light and fluffy with caramelized onions, seared cherry tomatoes, torn fresh mint and a bit of lemon juice. MMM!!!
Adapted from Food and Wine
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 lamb rib chops (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 TBSP lemon juice
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
In a small bowl, mix the spices with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Pat the garlic all over the lamb chops, then sprinkle them with the spice mixture.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the chops and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, for about 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the chops to plates, garnish with the cilantro and serve.
Ottolenghi’s Couscous with Tomato and Fresh Herbs
6 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, sliced into 2mm thick rings (400g net)
1 tsp honey
½ tsp ras el hanout spice mix*
2 oz golden raisins or sultanas
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cups couscous
1 oz unsalted butter, cut into dice
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
25g (1 1/2 oz) rocket, roughly chopped (did not add, don’t ask)
1 oz coriander, roughly chopped
1 oz parsley, roughly chopped
1 oz mint, roughly torn
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp argan oil, or olive oil if unavailable
Salt and black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Start by caramelising the onions. Place a medium sauté pan on a medium to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onions, honey, ras el hanout, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Cook for 15-30 minutes, on until the onions are soft, dark brown and sweet. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins or sultanas and set aside.
Place a ridged griddle pan on high heat and leave until piping hot. Mix the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook on the hot pan for about 4 minutes, until the skin is slightly charred and the flesh is soft, turning occasionally. Set aside.
Line the base and sides of a roasting tin, approximately 20 x 30 centimeters, with baking paper and put in the couscous, along with ½ a teaspoon of salt. Pour over 3 1/2 cups of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir and leave to soak for 10 minutes, covered with foil. Dot the soaked couscous with the butter cubes, cover with foil again and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and fluff up with a fork
Once the couscous has cooled slightly transfer it into a large bowl. Add the onion and raisin mix and stir. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, almonds, rocket and most of the herbs, leaving a little to the end. Finally add the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and mix gently.
Gradually transfer the couscous to a serving platter scattering with the cherry tomatoes as you go. Finish with a sprinkle of herbs and drizzle with argan oil.