The smell of lamb chops with a crisp, rosemary crust, mingling with the scent of sweet roasted vegetables will make you and your family or guests think they’ve stepped into a tiny French Bistro, but you won’t have to foot the bill for air fare, or the restaurant sticker price.
Its a bit of a chef secret, but with quick cooking cuts, especially the often over-looked, but delicious loin chops / t-bones, you often don’t need many special kitchen tricks, spice blends, or specialty ingredients. As Chef Alan Bergo says:
“People always ask me what I did to the lamb or goat chops, and more often than not, especially with Shepherd Song Lamb and Goat Meat, it was just salt and pepper, and maybe a little fresh rosemary or thyme, maybe. Their lamb and goat is 100% grass-fed, the flavor is clean, and mild. When your ingredients are of the highest quality, all you truly need to taste the flavor is salt, pepper, and a good, hot sear.”
Our recipe here for simple, pan seared lamb or goat loin chops with a rosemary crust from Chef is a great example of minimalist cooking that works well with our grass fed lamb and goat meat, and it’s easy to put together for a quick meal when prep time is tight, or when you’re not feeling ambitious to say, make a more large-scale recipe, like whole lamb roasted al-asado, or a double loin roast.
The roasted root vegetables here are a recipe in themselves, and a simple accompaniment for any rich meat, especially when kissed with a touch of home-rendered lamb fat–the perfect accompaniment to any vegetable garnish you might serve alongside our lamb. (See Chef’s post on rendering lamb fat here). Chef Bergo likes to use a big blend of different roots and tubers for a blend of color, texture, and flavor. The best part is, the roots don’t need to be cooked individually, just toss them with salt, pepper, and rendered lamb fat, and roast in a hot oven.
The blend of vegetables is up to you, and Chef reccomends using whatever looks good and is available. In the pictures here, chef used sunchokes (technically a tuber), rutabaga, scarlet turnip (a sweet, pink turnip), lavender radish (a spicy Winter radish) yellow, white, and purple carrots, and parsnips. The big thing to remember with the roasted vegetables, no matter what type you use (other examples could be broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, peppers, etc) is that for proper color, it’s extremely important to roast the vegetables on very high heat, and to make sure not to crowd the pan, which can make the vegetables steam instead of caramelize and brown, which makes them sweeter.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a 15 year veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
Pan Searing Lamb Loin Chops
Roasting Root Vegetables
- 1 package/4 each lamb loin chops or goat loin chops (Assume 2 chops/person for a modest entree)
- Small handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons chopped
- 5-8 cloves of fresh garlic
- 3 lbs assorted winter vegetables, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, sunchokes, squash, potatoes, etc (this will make enough for 4 people, or leftovers if serving two)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons rendered lamb fat
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Pat the lamb chops dry, then make a few, shallow slices in the fat cap to help it render and crisp. Season the lamb chops with salt, pepper and the chopped rosemary on all sides. Refrigerate the lamb for an hour or two, and up to 24 hours, uncovered, turning once or twice to help dry them out and help them brown.
- Peel all the vegetables except carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips. Melt the lamb fat, then toss the vegetables in it, and season with salt and pepper. Whack the garlic cloves with the back of a knife, and pick the rosemary sprigs into 3 inch segments.
- Toss the garlic and rosemary with the vegetables and bake at 475 for 20 minutes, or until browned on the top and just cooked through. The vegetables can be roasted ahead of time and reheated from here. If you don’t have a hood vent in your kitchen, open a window and turn on a fan to get some air circulating to prevent the fire alarm going off, as home ovens can often be a little smoky from residual cooking debris left from previous meals.
- For the lamb chops, heat a cast iron or other skillet to medium-high, and put the lamb chops, fat-side down in the pan.
- Cook until the fat is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the remaining sides until browned, about another 8 minutes (turning on a fat or opening a window as searing meat inside can get a little smoky. If the lamb chops threaten to fall down when searing the fat side, rest them against each other to keep them vertical. The chops can also be grilled if it’s warm outside, or if you prefer. When the lamb chops are done to your liking, remove them to a warm place to rest for a minute, then heat the vegetables, put a serving on each plate, and garnish with two hot lamb chops and lemon wedges.