This past weekend I had a dinner at my house with a few friends and served these little lollipop lamb chops as an appetizer during cocktail hour. They were gone in about two seconds.
The dinner was with an international supper club, and I chose Indian food so I thought these would be fitting. I used a combination of spices that are common in Indian cooking and rubbed them all over the lamb chops before The Cheese threw them on a fiery hot grill. I served them over a cool mint yogurt sauce. It was absolutely delish! (Seema, let me know how I did on this one!)
The spices I used you can find in the spice section of your grocery store – except for black mustard seeds. I found those at an Indian market or, you can get them here. If you don’t feel like seeking those out, yellow mustard seeds will work fine.
In a little bowl add black (or yellow) mustard seeds, whole cumin seeds, 3 whole cloves, garam masala, and tumeric.
Then chop some garlic.
In a small saute pan, heat some olive oil to medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the few cloves of garlic.
After about 30 seconds to 1 minute of letting the garlic cook, add in the spices.
With a wooden spoon, mix the spices and the garlic allowing them to cook in the oil. Added bonus: your house will smell fantastic!
Let the spices cook together until they are very fragrant, about two to three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the spices cool down a touch.
While the spices are cooling, let’s deal with the lamb chops.
I asked the butcher for 16 lollipop lamb chops that were “frenched”. Frenching is when they clean the fat off each individual bone giving the lamb chop a clean look for an elegant dish.
Place your lamb chops on a dish and salt and pepper both sides using Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Next, pour the oil, spices and garlic mixture over the lamb chops. Using your hands, rub the spice mixture into each individual lamb chop. The cold lamb chops should cool the mixture down very quickly but be careful not to burn yourself!
Cover the lamb chops and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 – 3 hours, or overnight.
Now for the yogurt mint sauce.
In a food processor, add roughly chopped scallions, mint, dill, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a good drizzle of olive oil, a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
Blend it all up!
Add about a cup of yogurt.
And a little more salt and pepper.
Blend the whole thing and pour it into a bowl.
Taste the sauce to make sure that it doesn’t need more seasonings or an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cover and keep the sauce in the fridge until ready to serve.
Once the lamb chops are marinated, start your grill and allow it to get very hot. Grill the lamb chops for only about 2 -3 minutes on each side.
On a beautiful tray, pour the mint yogurt sauce and gently place the lamb chops on top, alternating to give the tray a nice presentation.
For the lamb chops:
16 lollipop lamb chops, frenched
1/4 cup olive oil.
1 tsp black (or yellow) mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
3 whole cloves
2 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the mint yogurt sauce:
6 scallions, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 TB good olive oil
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup greek yogurt (preferably Fage)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Yield: 16 lamb chops
Prep/cook time: 30 min
Total time: 3 hrs 30 min
Skill level: Easy
For the lamb chops:
In a small mixing bowl, mix the mustard seeds, cumin, cloves, garam masala and tumeric. Chop the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and let the garlic cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, making sure the garlic does not color at all. Add the spices and stir into the oil. Allow to cook for 2 – 3 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
Place the lamb chops in a dish and salt and pepper both sides generously. Pour the spice and garlic mixture over the lamb chops and carefully massage the spice mixture into the lamb making sure that the oil is cool enough to handle. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the lamb chops to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
On a very hot grill, grill the marinated lamb chops for 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the lamb chops to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
For the mint yogurt sauce:
In a food processor, add the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Blend until combined. Add the cup of greek yogurt and blend again. Pour the sauce into a bowl and check for seasonings.
Pour the mint yogurt sauce on a plate and place the lamb chops on top. Alternatively, serve the yogurt sauce in a bowl alongside the lamb chops as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!