For years I have said to my dining partners “If you want lamb, make reservations.” I am not a huge lamb fan. I mostly have enjoyed it at wine dinners. Lamb paired with the appropriate wine is, like most food, amazing. Other than that, it just didn’t appear on my radar. I didn’t crave it.
Then one afternoon I was out wine shopping. I just happened to get an outstanding bottle of wine at a bargain price. Red wine. And it was begging to be paired with lamb. So the adventure began.
When I begin to embark on a new food or recipe, I research. I look at the food history, cooking methods, seasonings, pairings, and pictures. I try to become more familiar with the food. To me, lamb is a middle eastern food, and I only like lamb chops. So finding a good butcher for top of the line chops was a must.
I found a local mediterranean market that featured halal food. Halal foods are foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines. The market I found had a butcher. Surely they would have the prefect lamb chops for which to begin my foray into cooking lamb. I was correct. This market with the butcher in the back had fresh lamb, cut the chops to order, and it was $6.99 a pound. My local grocer had not so great lamb chops at nearly twice the price. Score!
Now what? Well, my research indicated that lamb, cooked indoors, could really stink up a kitchen. So I decided to grill the chops outside on the grill. I also discovered that rosemary was perfect to flavor the chops. I have a friend that grows rosemary in her yard, so I scooted by and nabbed a handful! I wanted to keep it simple. Rosemary, salt, pepper, and some flavorful high quality olive oil is what I used to prepare the chops for the grill.
I let the chops sit for a couple of minutes to come to room temperature while the seasonongs sat on them. I wanted the flavor to sink in! I tossed these things on a hot grill at about 400 degrees. A quick flip after 4 minutes, and in another 4 minutes they were done. I pulled them off. Roasted beets accompanied the chops, as did wild rice. And, of course, the lovely wine paired with the meal was a show stopper. Yum!
The outcome was incredible! So much flavor! The chops were savoy, and very easy to prepare. The meal was, in fact, quite effortless. And the grilling not only eliminated the smell I was concerned about, it made cleanup a snap. The outcome of my adventure into cooking lamb was a fantastic meal. The discovery of a new mediterranean market which I will now frequent was an added bonus. And exploring the amazing taste sensation of a fabulously paired food and wine combination is always a win in my book!