Spring is my second favorite season (fall being at the top of my list). The weather is perfect, -sunny, warm, things are starting to blossom, love is in the air.. Spring symbolizes new life, rebirth, warmth, and hope. It seems to bring a refreshing source of energy to all aspects of life. Let’s celebrate the beginning of spring as we dive into Easter! I know that I will be pigging out a feast next week. And I will definitely be eating lamb again (among other things) on Easter Sunday.
Lamb is one of the traditional foods served on Easter. In religious perspectives, the lamb symbolizes Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who died and resurrected. Traditionally, even before the coming of Christ, the “sacrificial lamb” was served by the Jewish people, with the idea that God’s spirit would be with them. This tradition was passed along into Christianity.
With all the hype of lamb dishes around this time of year, I found myself at the grocery store picking up some lamb chops. Various cuts of lamb were on sale too. I love the tender texture and mild flavor of lamb. I was debating on rack of lamb, lamb chops, or tougher parts of lamb such as shoulder or shank. I decided to go with lamb chops, USDA Prime (the most flavorful and tender of all the grades).
I wanted to make a simple yet delicious dish…something that looked like I spent a lot of time and effort into, when in fact I did not. When patting the lamb dry, pat very gently. A trick I learned is to not press too hard when patting. Be careful not to squeeze out any excess juices. You will just be removing flavor and moisture, compromising flavor and juiciness. Or you can do it the “professional” way and lay the meat on a rack over a sheet pan. This will allow the excess juices to drip off naturally.
I used a generous amount of herbs and garlic for the items in the dish. I can’t get enough of the herby garlicky flavors in such a warm, comforting dish. I find it to be one of the comfort “foods that hug you,” as Carla Hall (of The Chew) would say. When making this dish, your kitchen will be filled with the piquant aromas released from all of these wonderful flavors.
I seasoned the meat generously with salt and pepper, and simply pan-seared it until caramelized on both sides. I like mine medium-well, perfectly pink and juicy in the middle. My favorite part was the sauce, a distinct flavor consisting of herby, garlicky, and sharply pungent. After searing the meat, remove from the pan. Add the garlic into the pan and sweat without burning. Deglaze with the red wine (I used Merlot from Barefoot), scrapping and stirring. Reduce until thickened. Add the broth or stock, until reduced. When reduced to a demi-sec, monter au beurre (mount with butter). I just love the velvety, rich flavors of sauces that utilize this method. Stir in the herbs, whole grain mustard, and cream.
The lamb was served with wild rice and Red Bliss Potatoes, which were both generously garnished (or seasoned, whatever you want to call it) with herbs. The herbs used were parsley, rosemary, and thyme.
I paired this meal with Merlot, the same wine I cooked with and used in the sauce. Never cook with wine you wouldn’t drink! I have made that mistake in the past, resulting in undesirably flavored dishes.