Lamb Chops with Mint Yogurt Sauce

What Would Jesus Eat? (Plus, Happy Easter!)

This year we had to celebrate Easter a day early (Mark works today), so we had dinner a day early…This year we tried something different than the old stand-by of ham and potatoes. We love ham and potatoes, but given that we had an afternoon to prepare a nice meal, we decided to try our hand at lamb chops! That gave me the inspiration to make it a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern themed meal…which is closer to what Jesus would have actually eaten (maybe…). It came out delicious!

We paired our lamb chops with a mint yogurt sauce, with sides of Israeli couscous (pearl couscous), and our lovely Greek salad. This paired nicely with Two Hands vineyard’s Angel Hands Shiraz (2007).

There is a little pre-prep required for this dish, but it’s very easy…the mint yogurt sauce…it probably tastes best if you let it set overnight, so prepare the night before if you have the foresight to. We forgot, but it was still good after only ~1-2 hours of sitting in the fridge!

Ingredients:

  • 0.5 cups 0% Fage Greek Yogurt (any thick Greek yogurt will do, as may sour cream)
  • Fresh mint leaves (to taste)
  • 1 minced garlic clove (to taste)
  • Fresh Lemon Juice (to taste, we used half a lemon)

Simply chop up the mint leaves and mince the garlic and stir into yogurt along with the freshly squeezed lemon. Let time do the rest…

T-minus 1 hour and counting ’till dinner…(*insert clock beeping sound from 24 here*)

Let’s start with the couscous, it takes longest to cook, so you need to prepare it before you start pan grilling the lamb chops…

Israeli Couscous Ingredients (serves 3):

  • 1/2 cup Israeli Couscous (may also be called pearl couscous)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • olive oil (for sauteing onion, garlic, and toasting couscous)
  • Low sodium chicken broth
  • ~3 cups of fresh spinach
  • ~0.5 oz of good feta cheese
  • ~2 tbs of toasted pinenuts

First saute the onion in olive oil in a saute pan (that has a lid). Once translucent, add garlic clove and couscous. Our couscous was already pre-toasted, but we wanted to toast it a bit more before adding the chicken broth.

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After toasting couscous, add chicken broth and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer/cover for 15 minutes. This dish is much-like a risotto, where the couscous absorbs a lot of the liquid, but will still be quite moist. Not like traditional Moroccan couscous that I’m used to…

stir_cous

Once most of the liquid is absorbed, add spinach and pinenuts to the mixture. Keep a close eye on it now, cook it until the spinach is wilted. Add feta cheese and stir again. You can add feta cheese a little bit earlier if you want it to melt a little bit, but due to it’s naturally low fat content, feta normally doesn’t melt very well.

Now for the lamb chops! Ideally, you want to start the lamb chops once your couscous is already going…depending on the thickness, the lamb shouldn’t take more than 3-5 minutes per side (for medium-rare, please don’t overcook lamb chops…it makes them really tough and not nearly as tasty), so if you start the lamb chops after you cover your couscous, they should both be done at approximately the same time.

Ingredients/hardware:

  • Lamb chops (we used 3 bone-in lamb chops, approx 1 lb with bone)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
  • cumin (optional, to taste)
  • olive oil (~1 tbs, spread evenly on pan)
  • cast iron pan

Heat up olive oil in cast iron pan until just smoking. Trim fat from lamb chops and dry rub salt, pepper, and cumin (if desired) onto both sides of lamb chops. When olive oil is just smoking, place lamb chops into pan. Grill on one side for ~3-4 minutes and flip with tongs.

After another 3 minutes, check internal temperature with thermometer (if you don’t have one, get one…they are a great investment!). Flip again if necessary, lamb chops should be at ~140F internal temperature for medium-rare chops. Once they reach 140F, take them off the heat and onto a place and cover with foil. They will cook a little bit more passively under the foil.

Serve with mint yogurt, couscous, your favorite salad (my Greek salad, of course with homemade dressing), and a bottle of your favorite red wine (we went with 2007 Two Hands Angel Hands Shiraz)!

Reflections…

So, let’s talk lamb chops…Lamb chops are delicious, but a fattier meat than I’m used to, despite trimming a bunch of fat, it was still too fatty for me and a little disappointing I couldn’t taste more yummy lamb…Next time, we will trim off even more fat so it doesn’t sit on me funny the rest of the night!

Couscous…excellent, a keeper recipe! Looking forward to trying it again…I had the leftover serving at lunch in a whole wheat pita, strangely enough it made an excellent sandwich!

Nutrition:

Lamb Chop (4oz; not including yogurt or olive oil):

  • 213 cal
  • 9g fat
  • 0g carb
  • 31g protein

Yogurt Sauce (1/4 cup using Fage 0%):

  • 41 cal
  • 0g fat
  • 5g carb
  • 1g fiber
  • 5g protein

Israeli Couscous (1/3 of recipe):

  • 100 cal
  • 4g fat
  • 12g carb
  • 1g fiber
  • 5g protein