Ali had a little lamb

And boy do I mean little!! Lamb isn’t inexpensive in my area so I only get it when it is on sale and the most on sale cut is these tiny little bone in chops. Tiny for me is 3 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick, which is about the size of my palm just a bit thicker. I am not mad at these tiny chops, just the opposite, they cook up so tender and juicy and delicious and did I mention tender?? I told ya’ll about my dental work and how I haven’t had meat in ages, well these perfectly tiny chops are very, very chewable by me!!

I always struggle with what to serve with the lamb but this time I just went with what was already in the cupboard and that ended up being a package of Chicken and Broccoli rice and 2 bunches of swiss chard.

Oooohhh, chard!! This has become my current favorite green. I treat it like I would collards and cook it down for hours in some wine and broth but this time I had some leeks that needed to be used so I chopped them into half-moons and sauteed them in a bit of salt and butter before I added the chard and broth. I let the greens cook for about an hour in just the broth before I add anything else and in this case I added apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, ground black pepper, shallot powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes and let them cook for another hour. I don’t add any salt pork or ham hocks to my chard because I don’t want to mask the beautiful flavor of the green. I can’t really describe it but that flavor is just perfect and doesn’t need masking, just enhancing.

Those tiny chops are just perfect for pan searing. Those tiny chops have so much flavor that I only use salt and pepper to season them, again we don’t want to mask the flavor we want to highlight it!! Since my chops are small they don’t need much more than 4 minutes on the first side and 3 on the other, you want a gentle sear and just a bit of crust on the edges. Lamb is very easy to overcook, it should be served closer to rare than to medium. I almost messed up my whole dinner because I didn’t have my timing right. I was counting on the rice and meat being done at the same time but I was late in starting the rice because the dog needed to play and I was the only person she could find and her face is so sweet that I have a hard time telling her no. Yes, my 2 legged child is just as spoiled as the pets are and no, you can’t convince me that your pets aren’t your children. In fact if your pets aren’t your children then you have no business having pets.

Back to the lamb. Salt and pepper the topside of the meat, we don’t want to do the other side just yet so hold off on flipping and seasoning. Get a non stick skillet on the stove with about a tablespoon of oil and set the heat to medium and let the pan get hot. You will know the pan is hot when the oil goes to the edges of the pan and is shimmery, if your oil is smoking then your pan is too hot and your meat will be burned on the outside and raw on the inside. So, our oil is shimmery and running to the edges, we need to swirl it around the pan to get an even coating before put our meat in. When you have put your meat in, put it in seasoned side down and then don’t walk away, this is not a case of set it and forget it, 4 minutes might feel like a long time to stand there watching meat cook but you might only need to let it go 3 minutes but if you go get a beer or let the dog out you will miss the mark. The mark is when blood begins to rise to the surface of the meat that you are looking at, as soon as you see this sprinkle with salt and pepper and flip them. Waiting until just before you flip to season gives the salt and pepper a chance to sort of be absorbed into the meat before it gets cooked in. The pan and oil being hot already gives a bit of a shortcut to the flip which is why it doesn’t need quite as long to cook on the second side so absolutely don’t leave the stove once you have flipped your beautiful and not inexpensive meat, someone else can fetch you libations and take care of the dog, if they try to give you lip just accept it because when they taste the beauty of the meal you have prepared they will apologize for any lip given!

As far as sides go I have made asparagus, mashed taters and peas, long grain and wild rice, couscous and salad and bread. I am pretty sure that I worry too much about those things because really almost anything can go with lamb. I found some cheese in the drawer and we sprinkled our lamb with Manchego cheese and oh sweet baby ducks it was amazing and that was really a happy accident. I am relatively new to cooking the lambs so every time I make it it is a surprise how it will all come out!

Sorry for the delay between posts, I haven’t really been making much that is exciting and new or something we haven’t already talked about. This week however is going to be a fun ride of my first catering and they boys are back to class but they will be watching a movie so I have to decide what sort of snacks will be best because I can’t just send some microwave popcorn, they deserve better than that.

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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