What’s With the Mint?

Savory Minted Lamb Chops

This is one of those recipes that I was skeptical about. Its blend of spices didn’t exactly sound appealing to me, and Jeremy has commented before that he doesn’t understand the combination of lamb with mint. But I wanted something easy and pantry-friendly, and it had enough rave reviews on Epicurious that I gave it a shot despite my reservations. I’m very glad I did, because I’ve since made it several times, and I think it is safe to say that, in a slightly adapted form, it is now my go-to recipe for lamb chops when I’m stumped for other inspiration.

The original recipe calls for broiling the chops. My oven’s broiler setting is very sketchy, so I adapted it to what works best for us. I don’t currently have fresh mint on hand (it didn’t survive the winter or the energetic shepherd pup in our backyard), but I substitute in dried mint to good effect. Finally, I’ve made these with and without the cayenne, and I have to say that we find the heat very distracting in this particular application. If you want to use the cayenne, I would recommend not letting the rub stand on the meat for more than a few minutes.

Savory Minted Lamb Chops

1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C chopped fresh mint (or 2 T dried mint flakes)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 (1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick) lamb loin chops (about 5 ounces each), trimmed

Place olive oil, chopped mint, minced garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper (if using), and black pepper in small bowl; mix well. Spread herb mixture over both sides of lamb chops. Transfer chops to broiler pan. Let stand 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat some oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat, and sear chops until well-browned on each side. Arrange chops on platter, garnish with fresh mint sprigs, and serve. Place the skillet in the oven and continue to cook the chops until their internal temperature reaches 155F or to desired doneness. (I am still quite squeamish about underdone meat, by which I mean anything less cooked than medium—and even medium is a stretch for me sometimes. Usually the chops vary a bit in size, so I just pick out the smaller ones for myself, and let Jeremy have the big fat ones that didn’t cook through as much.)

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.

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