I bought some lamb chops yesterday, they looked very enticing- like little plump, juicy t-bone steaks but of the smaller, lamb variety (I mean lets face it that is exactly what they are!).
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them and if in fact I wanted to do anything at all. Since living in the US it has given me more appreciation for the actual flavour of meat and not necessarily the marinades used to enhance meat.
Say for example burgers. I always thought if you were going to make burgers you MUST flavour the meat with herbs and spices for them to taste any good. I remember when I was an apprentice at the Sheraton Hotel in Hobart many moons ago. The then head chef made all of us, chef-de-parties included make our own burger and who ever had the best one got the glory of using their burger in the hotel (yep, I was excited!). In the end I don't remember who won but I remember the process and stress it caused.
When I started working in Chicago at a fabulous French bistro (Bistro Capagne) we use to serve a burger. I was staggered the first time I saw it made, NOTHING went into the meat except salt and pepper just before it was cooked. Straight away I thought it was going to be very boring and ho-hum, however upon trying this burger I was blown away.
The flavour was fantastic, you could actually taste the meat and when combined with a raw slab of red onion, freshly sliced slabs of tomato and some butter lettuce it was all the flavour that burger needed. From that moment I was hooked and to this day I will always sort out GOOD quality mince/ground beef and leave the 'flavours' for another meal.
Ok so there is my lecture on not marinating meat, now let me tell you about marinating my chops!
I love a good punch and grind of herbs and spices so I decided to whip out my mortar and pestle and make a quick marinade for the chops. I wanted a quick and simple meal so if I put the main flavour in the meat then I could round off the meal with some yummy olive oil potatoes and greens dressed in a bit more extra virgin olive oil and smashed olives.
If you have never made olive oil potatoes then you must give it a go, they are divine and so simple it is a treat!
Simply boil up some peeled and chopped baking potatoes, bring them to the point when they are cooked through (like when you make potato salad), strain the water off, place them back on a low heat to dry the spuds out then drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons of really good extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and a grind of pepper then use your wooden spoon to stir them around and mix together, you may smash them up a bit which adds to the yummy flavour and texture. Turn off the heat, pop a lid on and let them keep warm while you boil up your peas and broccoli and cook your chops.
When the greens are ready and the meat is resting, strain the water add a hint of olive oil to your greens and some Kalamata olives that have been smashed and the pip removed, toss through with salt and pepper then serve.
You classic meat and three veg has turned into a delicious meal you will want to make again and again and the best part is you whipped it all up in 30 minutes.
Now if you would like to give this a go and you need a quick guide to follow, below is a structure you can follow so your meal will come out in 30 minutes and all hot- enjoy!
Follow this guide
-marinate chops (for full flavour I'd marinate a day a head or at least 3 hours before cooking)
-chop potatoes and pop into a saucepan with water and salt then put on to boil
-heat up char grill
-put water on for green veggies
-once grill is hot cook chops
-add olive oil to pots and then leave with lid on
-turn chops then cook green veggies
-drain greens and add olives, cover and keep warm
Lamb chop marinade
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 slices lemon peel (without white)
8 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes (I only used a small amount because the kids would of freaked if I added more)
2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin, just olive oil)
Put all ingredients into a mortar and grind until a thick paste then smear onto chops and marinate for 3-24 hours.