Easy Recipe for Cooking Lamb

Here’s a quick and easy way to put together Lamb chops, brussels sprouts and rice for a great Sunday night meal for two.

First, we jump into making the rice…

Rice is simple: rinse the uncooked rice first (run under cold water in a chinoise for 60 seconds or so).   Small-dice one white/yellow onion.  Your starting quantity of onions  should be just a touch less than your dry rice.  I also crushed a few cloves of garlic with the onions (optional).  Cook over medium-high heat with olive oil, canola oil, clarified butter, regular butter, coconut oil — fucking, whatever cooking fat you choose to use.

Once the onions smell more sweet than they do acidic, add the rice, saute it a little bit, and then add your water.  Whatever rice you are using should have a guide for water/rice ratio on the packaging: white, brown, jasmine, basmati and arborio all have different ratios, but when in doubt, there’s also always Google.  Just keep in mind that if using onions or any other produce in the cooking process of the rices, they will leak moisture, so scale back on the recommended amount of water used, by just a touch.

This could be any cut of any meat, and the principals would still hold true:  marinating in an oil/fat-based marinade doesn’t really have an expiration date, within a couple weeks at least (oil/fat is a preservative).  You should dry off any meat/protein before applying direct contact to heat.  Ever taken teriyaki chicken out of the marinating package and throw it directly onto the grill? Then it sticks, and you end up scolding yourself for not cleaning the grill better beforehand — “ugh, the chicken is sticking!”

While the grill might be dirty, this happens because liquids and solids in marinades tend to have all kinds of natural sugars in them, that caramelize when they come in contact with the hot grill, making them stick, and then they continue to burn after that point.

Pro Tip: If you’re trying to sear meat, you need to sear just the meat, not the aromatics in the marinade.

Pretty straight-forward:  direct contact between meat and a hot pan will yield the best result. The hotter the better, and the louder the sound when the meat hits the pan, the better.  That being said, you don’t want to set anything on fire.  Basically, aim to get the sound as loud as possible without setting the pan on fire.

** Footnote: if a fire ensues, it’s not the end of the world.  The first time I worked with that very pan on that very stove, I set canola oil on fire. I ended up extinguishing it by dousing the pan in salt, no less.   Everything works out when you have salt on hand 😉

If you’re keeping things of a strong flavor raw for consumption, particularly acidic things like alliums and citrus (i.e. shallots, garlic, lemon), have them as small as possible (fine-dice, mince or zest).  And as for the boutique level things being kept for finishing (particularly oils): the things that taste the best are supposed to be disturbed the least — in chef-speak, “disturbed” includes cooking and agitating.

Sauce: This is the start to your basic pan sauce.  After you sear meat in a (not non-stick) pan, and pour wine or stock into said pan and scrape off the meat bits (AKA: fonde) with a wooden spoon into the liquid.

Such liquid is now hot enough to melt butter, which should be whisked or rapidly mixed in (AKA: emulsified), and also at a temp that the butter itself will cool down to a point that will not separate (or “break”) the resulting liquid.  You’ve now made a pan sauce beur blanc!

Wiping the edges clean will always make the finished product look better.
**Sidenote: judge harshly any half-way decent restaurant that puts a plate in front of you with anything other than clean rims.

Finally, the finished product. Have a plate ready add the brussels and rice. Top it off with the lamb then drizzle with the sauce.

Final tip: lamb ribs are amazing! If you are buying bone-in lamb chops from a butcher, ask if they are available “not frenched.” Frenching is the butchery term for cleaning of the bone above the chop.  This is purely for presentation quality, which has its place, but unless you’re trying to impress the distinguished chef-instructors at Les Cordon Bleu, leave that delicious meat on the bone!


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