Friday, November 3, 2006

Seared Lamb Chops With Roasted Root Vegetable Medley

I'm not sure if the highlight of our dinner last night was the roasted root veggies or the marinated lamb loin chops, they were both so good. Best of all, we've got leftovers. And it's almost lunch time. So I'm going to make this post quick. No fooling around trying to write something clever. Just the straight skinny. Shoot from the hip. Quick as a bunny. The cliches keep coming...

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, Leeks, Carrots and Garlic
2 medium heads organic cauliflower
1 large bunch organic broccoli
2 leeks
1 bunch organic carrots (about 8 carrots)
2 heads organic garlic
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for the pan and to drizzle on the veggies

Wash and drain the cauliflower and broccoli and cut into small florettes.
Using only the white parts of the leeks, cut a slit down each leek lengthwise and clean the dirt out of the layers.
Cut the leeks crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
Peel the carrots, if desired, and cut into 3-inch lengths.
Separate and peel the garlic cloves. Keep whole.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place all the veggies in a large roasting pan that has been drizzled lightly with olive oil.
Drizzle more olive oil on the veggies (about 1 tablespoon, maybe a bit less, I don't measure) then sprinkle on the salt, pepper and marjoram. Mix well with your hands.
Cover the pan with foil and put in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Remove the foil from the pan, loosen any stuck on veggies with a spatula and return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes or until the veggies are a golden brown.

Seared Marinated Lamb Loin Chops
3 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 heaping teaspoon each, cumin and cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 1-inch thick lamb loin chops

Whisk all the ingredients, except the lamb chops of course, together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. (See cook's notes below)
Rinse the lamb chops and pat dry with a paper towel.
Place the chops in a gallon-size zip-lock freezer bag and pour in the marinade.
Zip the bag closed, removing as much of the air as possible.
Turning the bag over and over, coat the chops with the marinade. Allow to sit on the counter for at least 20 minutes or as long as 1/2 hour, turning the bag over several times more.
Heat a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter to the pan and when it has melted, drain the chops from the marinade and place in the pan.
Sear each side for about 4 minutes for medium rare. The chops should be nicely browned with a bit of a crust and a tender interior. Don't crowd the chops in the pan; you don't want them to steam.
That's it. Plate the chops with the veggies, pour a glass of good red wine and enjoy.

Cook's Notes:
I adapted the lamb chop marinade recipe from one I found on Epicurious. I've given you the list of ingredients exactly as I used them but if I were to make this again I would omit the lime juice entirely and use just the orange juice, possibly add a bit of lemon juice.