Garlic-Infused Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto

 I'm back, and with a newfangled kitchen!  Well, kind of.  The kitchen still isn't completed fully, but I got to use it today to cook a large Easter dinner for my family.  Easter 2014 marks the first holiday hosted at my house in Baltimore, and it couldn't have gone better!  I knew I needed to hook them from the start to get them to return annually ;-)

Let's start with the kitchen.  The floor needs to finish being grouted; the light fixture is hanging from the ceiling, not hooked up; I have exposed wires and electrical outlets; the microwave needs to be installed; backsplash hasn't been put in; and the front panel on the fridge is, of course, not working.  Mind you, my kitchen is one strip of wall, about 12 feet altogether, and this has been going on since April 2nd.  But all crap aside, I used the stove, the fridge, and the dishwasher, etc. and it all worked out.  I'll try to stop complaining about it.

Apparently, you'll want this recipe.  According to everyone who had the lamb chops today, they were great, especially with the mint pesto.  Lamb is sometimes served with a mint jelly, and from what I've researched, it's because lamb has such a rich, strong flavor, and the mint balances it out.  If you've heard otherwise, let me know!  Read on to figure out how to recreate this dish!

What You'll Need:
For the lamb
  • 16 lamb chops (I used rib chops, one rib per chop)
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 tsp. minced garlic
For the pesto
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 oz. sliced almonds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1.  Start by prepping your lamb chops.  Slice off some of the fat around the outer chop, but not all of it.  Leaving that layer of fat will make your lamb chops a lot more flavorful, and less susceptible to drying out and getting tough.  With a fork, poke the lamb chops about 2 or 3 times, creating holes.  Sprinkle the chops with salt, pepper, rosemary, and smoked paprika.  The reason I didn't add measurements to the spices is because it's generally up to your preference.  The spices will seep into the meat, and when you sear the chops, it forms the outside crust, therefore liberally is always best.    Drizzle the olive oil around the lamb chops, making sure everything is coated.  Dollop each lamb chop with 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic.  I marinated mine overnight, but at least 2-3 hours in the fridge should be okay.  Mine looked like this:

2.  While your chops are marinating, make the mint pesto.  Add all ingredients to a food processor except the olive oil.  Pulse until everything is very finely minced.  Stream in olive oil while processor is running, until pesto is at the consistency you like.  Keep at room temperature.

3.  Brush a non-stick skillet with some olive oil and heat the pan to medium-high heat.  Sear each lamb chop to gain the crust on the outside, about 2 minutes on each side, and transfer to a baking sheet.  Broil on high for about 3-4 minutes, or until the middle is perfectly pink, medium-rare.  Serve either alongside the mint pesto, or drizzle pesto on top of each chop.  Enjoy!


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