I love lamb in almost any form, and I’ve been craving lamb chops lately. I knew I had a couple in the freezer, so I started searching for a recipe. Something a little different than the usual lemon, oregano, or rosemary. This Lamb Shoulder Chops with Smoky Red Pepper-Shallot Butter recipe didn’t look different at first glance, but I’m glad I took the time to read over the recipe. It’s got the usual oregano, but it’s also full of flavors I don’t usually have with lamb. But I do love steak with a good compound butter, and lamb chops are kind of similar. It made me curious, and I had to give it a try.
Lamb shoulder stands up well to the Spanish-influenced spice rub of garlic, oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika in this recipe. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the buttery sauce.
As I mentioned, I had the lamb shoulder chops in my freezer. I also had most of the other ingredients on hand, leaving me to pick up the fresh shallot, oregano, and peppers.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the piquillo peppers, so I went with roasted red peppers. From what I have read, they are similar to the sweetness piquillo peppers without their heat. I like how food, so I was a little disappointed.
I have to admit that I was a little worried about the difficulty of this recipe when I saw it was from Fine Cooking. That name just makes me think ‘complicated’, but good food doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe sure wasn’t. It didn’t take too long, either:
- 19 minutes to prep
- 1 hour to marinate
- 6 minutes to cook
- 1 hour 25 minutes total
It does require a couple of special tools, though. A mortar and pestle is needed to make the garlic-spice rub. I have to confess that I minced the garlic before I added it to the mortar. That did a lot of the work involved in making the garlic into a paste.
The next item you’ll need is a spice grinder to grind up the toasted cumin seeds. You could use regular ground cumin, but the flavor just isn’t nearly as good, trust me. BTW, I recommend toasting the cumin seeds first so they have a few minutes to cool before you grind them.
The process of making the lamb chops and compound butter was pretty straightforward. First, make the garlic paste, rub the lamb chops, and let them marinate for 1-8 hours (I marinated them for 1 hour).
Start the compound butter toward the end of marinating the lamb. One thing I discovered was the warmed sherry vinegar helps to soften the butter. Just be careful not to heat it too much and melt the butter.
Actually cooking the lamb chops wasn’t unusual–just sear them in a cast iron pan and turn after a few minutes. The real work was done at this point, and this part was very simple. I did have a little trouble getting the butter to thoroughly melt on the cooked chops, though, so you might want to tent yours with aluminum foil to help the process along.