I have to confess . . . I didn't eat a lot of lamb before I moved over here to the UK. My sole experience of eating lamb had been when I was a teen. My mother purchased some lamb chops at the local IGA and cooked them for us. Sadly, they smelled like she was burning a woolen mitten when they were cooking, and none of us would eat them.
Since my arrival over here though, I have come to realize that good lamb doesn't smell like burning mittens, and that it tastes luxiously rich and delicious when cooked properly. I love it so much so that Todd and I had lamb for our wedding celebration dinner, and I cook it fairly often.
Most often I cook my lamb cutlets only slightly, so that they are still meltingly pink and succulent on the insides . . . a brief searing heat on both sides of no more than 2 minutes, simply seasoned with some sea salt and cracked black pepper. Not everyone's choice I know, but I do so love it that way myself . . . with a bit of mint sauce on the side . . . and some lightly steamed baby new potatoes and fresh veg. My idea of heaven . . .
Once in a while though, it's nice to break free from the norm and try something completely new and different. When I received these lovely lamb cutlets last week from the nice folks at Abel & Cole I knew just the recipe I wanted to use for them . . . my adaption of one from Sophie Grigson's cookery book, "Country Kitchen." Abel & Cole organic lamb is very special, raised from slow growing traditional breeds, and grazed on lush green grass and wild herbs. Special lamb deserves top treatment, and I knew any recipe of Sophie's would be pretty wonderful.
If you like roasted root vegetables, roasted so that they are sweetly caramelized on the outsides and meltingly tender on the insides . . . combined with eastern spice . . . and topped off with lucious lamb cutlets, then this recipe is for you.
It's fabulous. So fabulous that, although it was supposed to serve four . . . in this house, it only served two . . . *smack*
*Spiced Lamb Chops with Roasted Roots*
This is a very tasty, and mildly spiced dish of lamb and vegetables, all cooked together in one roasting pan. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but they go together very simply and with everything being banged together into one roasting tin, there's not a lot to clean up afterwards!
2 heaped TBS of tamarind paste
7 fluid ounces of boiling water
4 TBS sunflower oil
12 small new potatoes
3 large parsnips
3 red onions, peeled and quartered
6 cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black onion seeds (called kalonji or nigella seeds as well)
4 meaty lamb cutlets or chops
coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Place the tamarind paste in a bowl along with the hot water and sunflower oil, whisking it together well. Whisk in the tumeric, cumin seeds and Kalongi. Mix together well. Peel the carrots in cut them half lengthwise. Peel the parsnips and quarter them. Remove the tough inner core. Peel the new potatoes if desired. Place all the vegetables in a large roasting tin along with the onion quarters and garlic cloves. Pour the tamarind mixture over top and disperse amongst the vegetables using your hands. Cover tightly with tinfoil and then bang the pan into the oven and roast them, covered, for half an hour. Remove from the oven and discard the foil. Give the vegetables a good stir and then bury the lamb cutlets down into them, making sure they are coated in the juices. Return to the oven and roast, uncovered, for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, until the chops are cooked and the vegetables are all very tender and gorgeously caramelized on the edges. (Check once in a while and add a bit more water if need be.) When done, serve immediately with some crusty bread.