Since yesterday was Easter, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about what I made for dinner. I know for many people, the traditional dinner for Easter is ham, but in my family, it was always lamb. Don’t get me wrong, I love ham. And we always had it on Easter, but it was for breakfast. My grandmother would bring one every year to Easter breakfast (and Christmas for that matter), but dinner was always lamb. Even though there were only two of us this year for dinner, I figured I would make lamb chops once again.
My favorite way to cook lamb chops is to roast them in the oven. I often times cook them with herbs and olives, but this year I decided to try something a little different. I gave the chops an herb rub the night before and kept them in the refrigerator overnight. I then roasted them and topped them with a fresh mint pesto, perfect for a spring recipe. For this recipe, I used shoulder chops. You could certainly substitute the smaller chops, or even a leg of lamb, although the cooking time will be different. The shoulder chops were nice and big, and full of flavor.
To start, take 4 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and add them to a food processor or chopper. I prefer cooking with dried oregano. I find the fresh just doesn’t have the same flavor, although it is one of the very few herbs that I prefer dried. Spin those ingredients together until finely chopped. I then add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Give it one more spin, and you’ll have a nice rub. Smear evenly over 3 lamb chops, about 8-10 oz each. I just put the chops with the rub in a plastic bag and threw it all in the refrigerator overnight. You don’t need to do this the night before, but the flavor does penetrate well when you have it marinating for a while.
When you’re ready to cook the lamb chops, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the chops to a pan with 1/2 cup white wine. I used a 9 x 9 square glass Pyrex dish, but you can use whatever works for your chops. And you may be wondering about the white wine with lamb, but it’s what I had on hand. If you prefer red, by all means, use it. The chops will roast for about 20-30 minutes, although check them after about 15 minutes. You want them to be pink inside. Once you take them out of the oven, let them rest a few minutes.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. Add to the food processor or chopper about 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves (I bought a 3/4 oz package and it was perfect) and 1/4 cup walnuts. Blend these until finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. That’s really it. You can certainly adjust the quantities if you prefer, but you want a fresh, bright taste to go along with the lamb.
I hope everyone had fantastic food this weekend. The perfect weather we had also got me excited for more spring and summer foods. Can’t wait!