Braised Lamb Chops & Asparagus Risotto

I’ve classified this under “Danielle’s Favorite Meals.”

There’s really not much to say about this dish: it was amazing, and it’s definitely a pairing I want to store in my virtual cookbook and bring out when I want to woo someone or prove to people that I am sophisticated…

Once in a rare while I will come up with an original “recipe” (i.e. I’ll throw whatever I have in the fridge together in a makeshift dinner), but usually I steal other people’s tested recipes for my kitchen. Sometimes they are fantastic, others are… well, not so fantastic. That’s where this blog comes in. I want to be able to remember the good ones and let the other failed recipes fade away like a bad trip to Souplantation.

In this case, both the balsamic reduction and risotto were recipes I found online, and both turned out amazing. I’ve just copied and pasted them here- don’t judge me. I’m way too tired and behind in posts to type out these recipe and  add my personalized notes to them, and since I didn’t change much of anything in either one, there’s no need to.

Lamb & Balsamic Reduction a la All Recipes:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 lamb chops (3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the rosemary, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place them on a plate, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place lamb chops in the skillet, and cook for about 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare, or continue to cook to your desired doneness. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter.
  3. Add shallots to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. If you don’t, the sauce will be runny and not good. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Pour over the lamb chops, and serve.

Asparagus Risotto a la New York Times

Adapted from Mario Batali

Time: 45 minutes

1 pound asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces, tips reserved
4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 medium red onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half the asparagus stalks and cook until quite soft, at least 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water. Put cooked asparagus in a blender or food processor and add just enough water to allow machine to puree until smooth; set aside.

2. Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add a large pinch of salt. Add warmed stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more.

4. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. In 5 minutes, begin tasting rice. You want it to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage. When it does, stir in 1/2 cup asparagus puree. Remove skillet from heat, add remaining butter and stir briskly. Add Parmesan and stir briskly, then taste and adjust seasoning. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings.

Advertisements

I hope you like lamb

 

I’m not a serious meat person, but the thought of a lamb chop always makes me excited. We never had lamb for dinner in either of the homes I grew up in. Instead, I was raised on chicken, beef and turkey with the occasional veal cutlet and fish thrown in. Trying lamb for the first time was a taste-bud meltdown. (The same is true for duck!) The thing I love the most about lamb is its simplicity and fat content. Lamb is so flavorful on it’s own, that there’s not much more you need to do to it.

Here are three pretty simple recipes for lamb: Simple Lamb Sliders, Oliveri Lamb Stew and Lamb Chops with Apricot Compote. MMM. Enjoy!

SIMPLE LAMB SLIDERS
Sometimes you want to cook a meal in 10 minutes. You’re tired, cranky and not in the mood to mince garlic, measure out herbs and unload the fridge, but, you also want pizazz. Well, then this recipe is for you. I personally think lamb is good enough on it’s own without seasoning, just be sure to splurge on a good-quality, fresh ground lamb. It’ll be a little pricey, but well worth the extra cash. You’ll need:

Ground lamb
English muffins (whole-grain-it-up for your <3) or typical mini hamburger buns
Apricot jam (or a chutney of your liking)
Onions
Olive Oil

1. Form the lamb into small 1/4 inch balls and smash together while you heat up a portable grill (godbless my George Foreman) or use a real one if you have it.

2. Heat up olive oil (1-2 tbsp) in a small frying pan. Chop some onion into long slivers. Once the oil is ready, throw in the onions and caramelize.

3. Grill the lamb to your liking.

3. Toast the English muffin. Once done, top with a thin layer of apricot jam or chutney. Fix the lamb on top and then put some caramelized onions on it. Delish.

Serve it alongside fresh arugula with balsamic oil and you’ve got a complete meal.

OLIVERI LAMB STEW

This is a quintessential wintry fall stew, so bookmark it for a cold, rainy day (which we probably won’t have here in California for another eight months…)

My friend Steven made this for me about three years ago and it changed my life. Steven is one of the best chefs & bakers I know, and I wish he’d put together a food blog of his own so we could all cook a little better.  This is his recipe verbatim, so thank you Steven!!

1 lb fresh green beans
1/4 C olive oil
3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 2 in cubes
1/2 C chopped onion
salt
pepper
1/2 C red wine vinegar (good quality)

1. Trim, wash, and drain beans.

2. In large pot, heat olive oil on medium high. When hot, brown meat deeply on all sides. ( several pieces at a time so as not to crowd the pot… ) Then transfer meat to a plate.

3. After all meat is browned and on the plate… cook the onion in the pot until its a pale gold color. Return lamb to pot. Add salt, pepper, and the vinegar. Bring the vinegar to a brisk simmer for about 30 seconds, turning the meat and scraping loose browning residues from the bottom and sides of the pot. turn the heat down to cook at a slow simmer. Add the green beans and cover the pot. Lid slightly ajar.

4. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the meat is very tender.

Lamb Chops with Apricot Compote

Saw this in a magazine a few years ago and tried it. Turned out to be really scrumptious. Sorry for the kind of gross-looking photo– took this picture before starting the food blog.

1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce (low sodium)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon (ground)
1/8 tsp black pepper
lamb chops, trimmed

1. Combine the first four ingredients (apricot, mustard, garlic & soy sauce).
2. Combine the salt, cinnamon and pepper and sprinkle over lamb on both sides.
3. Heat a large skillet and then spray with Pam or cooking spray.
4. Cook lamb for apprx. 5 minutes on each side (or however well-done or not well-done you like it)
5. Add the apricot, lowering the heat to the lowest setting. Let it cook for another minute.

I served this with carrots cooked in olive oil and some fresh bread fried in the skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil and garlic.

Now I’m in the mood for a little Lamb Chop’s Playalong! Did anyone else grow up with this show? Love it.

“Bounce your bottom in your chair!”