Sunday, July 20, 2008
I am surprised by how many of my acquaintances dislike lamb.
For me, lamb is a treat. It has more character than most of the meats you will find in your average grocery store. It is not a taste everyone enjoys, though.
"Lamb is gamey." That's a complaint I've heard a lot.
But that's what makes it better than other meats! It's more interesting; its scent has an intriguing undercurrent of olives. It's tender, and when cooked, it has a lovely rosy hue.
What is it about lamb that some people don't like?
A friend of mine, a woman who is fairly adventurous in most respects, recently admitted that she dislikes lamb. She said that she is game (get it?) for trying a recipe of my recommendation, though, acknowledging that perhaps she has not yet found a recipe she can enjoy.
This Mark Bittman recipe seems like a good starting place. Lamb chops are lean and they are not too expensive. The savory beans and tomatoes could be a meal by themselves, if you find that you are not enchanted with the taste of lamb.
Do not approach this recipe with trepidation, however. C'mon, become a convert!
Lamb Chops with White Beans
Adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe in How to Cook Everything
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 15-ounce can of white beans
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup cored and chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
4 one-inch lamb chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of chicken stock or water
Minced fresh sage for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Drain and rinse the beans, then add them to the saucepan. Add the garlic, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf, and stir gently to mix. Allow the beans to come to a simmer, and reduce the heat to low. Stir every few minutes.
Meanwhile, grease a heavy oven-safe skillet. Rub the chopped sage onto both sides of each lamb chop and season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb chops in the skillet. Pour the wine and chicken stock into the skillet around the chops. Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Cook the chops for 20-25 minutes (depending on whether you prefer them medium rare or medium).
Remove the cover from the skillet. Pour the beans into the skillet around the chops. Simmer for another 5-8 minutes over medium heat.
Garnish with some minced fresh sage and serve. See the light.