It's traditional to serve leg of lamb or a crown roast for special occasions, but there are other cuts of lamb that are perfect for any old time, like lamb chops. Lamb loin chops are low in fat and an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and selenium. Best of all, lamb loin chops are super easy to prepare. You can grill them, broil them or cook them in a skillet in just minutes.
Sometimes simpler is better. There are recipes loading lamb chops up with ingredients such as herbs, bread crumbs, mustard and blue cheese or smothering them in rich wine sauces studded with dried fruit. But for a weeknight meal, you really can't go wrong with marinated lamb chops. My basic marinade uses balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. I like Worcestershire sauce because it has lots of umami and boosts the mild yet meaty flavor of American lamb. Because they are so tender and succulent, I serve just one 4-5 ounce loin chop per person.
The American Lamb Board has proclaimed February to be Lamb Lover's Month. In celebration, they sent me some fresh lamb chops and I put together an easy recipe that is great for when you don't have much time on your hands. I served my lamb loin chops with some delicata squash drizzled with maple syrup, a big spinach salad with blue cheese and pecans and some long grain red rice.
When it comes to pairing wine with lamb loin chops, you have many choices, while Syrah is considered a classic match, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon can work too, depending upon the preparation. You can find more lamb recipes on the American Lamb website...or find a silly t-shirt on the Fans of Lamb site.
Marinated Lamb Loin Chops
4 lamb loin chops, about 4-5 ounces each
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Combine the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar in a bowl or jar. Place the chops in a zip top plastic bag and add the marinade. Squeeze out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes but no more than 2 hours in advance of cooking.
Remove the lamb chops from the marinade and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Let chops come to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes).
Heat cast iron or heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Drizzle chops with olive oil and cook for 3 minutes per side or until medium-rare (145 degrees). Remove lamb chops from pan and let sit loosely covered with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Alternatively you can broil the chops for 3 minutes per side, then allow to rest.