This week I’ll give you a quick way to get perfect lamb chops on the table in less than 30 minutes. This is a great recipe for a beginner to pick up some confidence cooking something more exotic, and a surefire way to impress anyone you’re cooking for.
Lamb has a wholly unique flavor all its own that is primarily due to its fat. Lamb has unique branched-chain fatty acids that are responsible for most of the flavor of lamb, and it’s highly influenced by the lamb’s diet. Lamb that has eaten more grain will have a milder flavor, and grass-fed lamb will have a, well, grassier note to the meat. America’s Test Kitchen also recommends removing fat caps if you desire a milder flavor, but I cannot endorse that. Embrace lamb for what it is, and enjoy it.
This recipe requires a cast iron skillet. The secret is preheating the skillet in a hot oven so you’re dropping the lamb chops onto a very hot pan for a good sear. Less is more, so I call for nothing but salt and a little pepper. I put some ideas for sides at the bottom, but you can’t go wrong with a nice side salad and some roast or mashed potatoes.
Don’t throw the leftover bones away. I save mine and make a batch of lamb broth or lamb/beef broth for soup bases. Broth made with lamb bones adds a rich undertone to a warm winter chili.
Pan-Seared Lamb Chops (Serves 2-4)
Lamb loin chops can be small. I usually eat one for dinner, but you men may want 2-3 so adjust accordingly.
- 12″ cast iron skillet
- meat thermometer
- 8 (5-6 oz.) lamb chops (rib or loin). Try to find them about 1.5″ thick.
- 1 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp cooking oil, bacon grease, lard, or ghee. (I wouldn’t suggest butter here. You’re working on very high heat.)
- butter for topping
- Put the cast iron skillet in the oven and heat the oven to 500F. This is the longest part of making the meal. You want the skillet to heat up with the oven.
- Pat the lamb chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When the oven reaches 500F, use an oven mitt to pull the skillet out and place it on the stove. Turn off the oven.
- Place the skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
- Heat your cooking fat (probably not butter) until it’s just starting to smoke a little.
- Put the chops in the pan and cook without moving them for 3 minutes.
- Flip the chops and cook another 2 minutes.
- Continue flipping and cooking every 2 minutes until the chops reach 125F. (I don’t suggest cooking over medium; overcooked lamb isn’t good.)/li>
- Transfer to a serving platter and let rest 5-10 minutes.
- Serve topped with good butter.
- Check out the buttery steak toppings article for more topping ideas. In my opinion, less is more with lamb, though. Many people like a mint relish on top, or perhaps a sage butter, but I wouldn’t get too fancy here.
- A fettuccine alfredo makes a decadent side here. Besides that, some sautéed Brussels sprouts, a green salad, or roast potatoes are also delicious accompaniments.