Top of the Chops

With time on our hands these days, we’ve been getting busy in the ol’ rasoi…or kitchen in other words. Lamb chops are a favourite of mine, but I’m often disappointed with offerings in restaurants. 

The secret of any great recipe involving lamb chops starts with using the best quality chops you can source from your butcher. I usually try to opt for Lonk lamb when available.

Characteristically, Lonks have black-and-white faces with long legs that are well suited to the Pennine environment of rocky hills and peat bogs. They are extremely hardy. 

Lonks are grass fed, producing meat that is fine-grained, naturally lean and full of flavour. Chops are a tender cut from a prime area of the lamb that can be griddled, fried, barbecued or baked. 

Done right, this cut can deliver an immense amount of sweet, tender flavour, whilst withstanding robust seasonings from spices and smoking. The perfect chop should be nicely caramelised on the outside from the charcoal grill, but still pink and juicy in the middle.

This is my take on a popular dish enjoyed across the Punjab region – Masala Lamb Chops. I would suggest marinating them for 2 – 3 days to develop a ‘fuller’ flavour. 

If you do not have a barbecue to hand, they cook well in the oven and finished off under a grill to achieve the caramelisation

Served with a minty raitha and simple side salad with a couple of ice-cold beers thrown in for good measure, you sure will be top of the chops!

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

5 Lamb Chops – best end, cut approx. 2cm thick

For the marinade:

2 Echalion Shallots – sliced

3 Garlic Cloves – minced

20g Ginger – finely gated

2 Red Chillies – chopped

1 Lemon – zested

100ml Dry White Wine

75ml Rapeseed Oil

2 Tbsp Garam Masala

1 Tsp Tumeric

1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves

1 Tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder (or smoked paprika)

20g Coriander – chopped leaves & stalks, some leaves reserved for garnish

Salt & Pepper to season

Method:

1) Using paper towels, pat dry chops and discard any shards or bone fragments.

2) Flatten the lamb chops out so that they are evenly thick to expose as much surface area to volume ratio to the marinade. 

3) Combine the rest of the ingredients together, reserving some chopped coriander leaves for garnish and marinade the lamb chops in it for 2 – 3 days in a refrigerator. 

4) Turn the chops in the marinade twice a day, or at least once a day. 

5) Prior to cooking, take the marinated lamb chops out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Approx. 30 mins or so.

To cook on the barbecue:

6) Light a barbecue with a lid. Once the coals are ready, cook the chops on a high heat, turning once, until cooked to medium (around 5 – 8 mins). Ensure the meat isn’t directly on the flame to avoid burning the spices. 

Bear in mind, the key is to keep the lid on so the temperature is consistent. 

To cook in the oven:

7) Alternatively, cook in the oven on a baking tray for 12 mins, and finish off under the grill for 2 mins to crisp them up. Garnish with remaining coriander leaves, serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over and a minty raitha and side salad.

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