I've always been pretty iffy when it comes to lamb. I had a roommate who used to make the best ever lamb burgers for me, and that was awesome, but other than that I've never really had lamb that was anything to write home about.
Apparently Eleanor never did either, because there's only one lamb recipe in The Box, and it's buried in a collection entitled “Far Eastern Fling” that must have come from a bottle of soy sauce or something (and it's illustrated). But I promised to make all the recipes in The Box, so when I found out that February is Lamb Lovers Month (and, not coincidentally, the start of the Year of the Sheep in China), I figured now was as good a time as any to tackle lamb for the first time.
It doesn't hurt that Edinburgh was just hit with a cold snap worse than the whole rest of the winter has been so far... or that said cold snap aligned perfectly with Judson's busiest work week of the year. So when I got the “BUSIEST. DAY. EVER.” text one evening last week, I figured it was time to cook up some lamb chops, mix up a Moscow Mule, and relax by the fire...
But since neither of the two fireplaces in our flat are functional, we relaxed by the radiator with a thick tartan wool blanket.
The best thing about this recipe is how crazily specific it is. Some of the recipes in the box are so vague that they are literally just a list of ingredients (are these even recipes, or just grocery lists? I guess I'll find out when I get to them). And then there are recipes like this one, which explains how to marinate and cook the lamb, and then commands that it be served “with squash and fruit salad.”
Since The Rules state that I have to follow the recipes to the letter, I served these lamb chops with curry-roasted butternut squash and a sad “fruit salad” that was really just blueberries, a sliced banana, and a chopped up apple in a bowl with some lemon juice. Nevertheless, it was delicious.
Turns out lamb isn't exceedingly difficult, gamey, or pungent like I had always thought. If you've always been on the fence about lamb but have never cooked it yourself, give this recipe a try. The chops are tender, savoury, and the flavour has a great depth that doesn't override the natural flavour of the lamb. All this time I thought I didn't like lamb and it turns out I just don't like the spices it's usually paired with, or the sauces that usually drown it. I never take charge of cooking meat because it makes me nervous and sort of wigs we out, but even I could handle this one. There's no trimming the meat, hacking through bones, or any of the other weird stuff that goes along with most meat-based main courses, and since you likely already have some of the marinade ingredients in your cabinet, it's also cheap (squash and fruit salad optional).
4 Spoons out of five. It's delicious, affordable, and unique-- plus, if you're anything like us, lamb is a great change of pace from the usual suspects of chicken or veggies as a main dish. Skip the squash and fruit salad, and you'll be good to go.
Honey & Soy-Glazed Lamb Chops
½ c soy sauce
¼ c honey
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp pepper
4-6 lamb chops
Optional sides: squash, fruit salad, Moscow Mules for two
Combine soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and pepper, mixing thoroughly to dissolve the honey as much as possible.
Place marinade and lamb chops in a large bag or container with a lid and refrigerate for at least an hour.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375F/190C.
Drain marinade, give chops another generous grind of pepper, and roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through but still tender.