Anyone who knows me realizes that LaMb and I have had a love affair going for a very long time! My love for LaMb began as a child at the summer fair. Perhaps it was the cute boy in the crisp white 4-H attire that caught my eye but then my eyes shifted to the fuzzy adorable baaaing creature he was leading. On that day my heart was captured; forty-five years later my email address is merrylambs! My followers know that through the years I’ve collected lambs in every form! So why am I willing to eat them you may ask????
Well, I was cheerleader so let me give you the lamb cheer: D~E~L~I~C~I~O~U~S!
I love the juicy flavor, and with my degree in nutrition I have to give a shout out because lamb is a healthy protein choice! It is an especially good source of easily absorbed zinc and iron. American Lamb is lean and hormone free. Yep, that’s what I said, it’s a red meat that is hormone free and can be offered antibiotic free! Okay now, don’t freak out because just I said red meat. It’s a myth that white meat is healthier than dark. Today, red meat is much leaner than it was thirty years ago because of new breeding technologies, improved production strategies, and better meat processing techniques. Unsaturated fat, which is good for you, makes up for half the fat in lamb! Lamb is rich in B vitamins, especially B12. One serving can provide 74-100% of the daily requirement for Vitamin B12, which is essential for the body’s metabolic reactions. Lamb is also nature’s best source for an amino acid called carnitine, which is needed to generate energy from fatty acids. AND sit down, 3 ounces of chicken has the same calorie count as 3 ounces of lamb!!! Okay, okay I’ll stop the nutrition lecture (it was a good one huh?) and get on to the cooking.
Wait ~ I just gotta share this ‘cuz you know I’d so love to be there: “There are over 82,000 sheep operations in the US, a majority of them family owned and operated.” My home state of California is one of the top 5 sheep producing states along with TX, CO WY and South Dakota. My hubby knows I’ve always wanted to live on a farm! “Oh hubby, ready for a vocational change?” I so want to live on a LaMb FaRm! Really!
So let’s get cooking. When I went to the store I wanted to get a rack of lamb but this silly contest I’m working on said “lamb chop” ~ hello dizzy Merry ~ rack of lamb is considered lamb chops, the elite cut. OH well, I could figure out by the price that the LaMB LoiN chop or T-bone was going to be awesomely tender and easy to cook. IT was! My butcher said, “just don’t over cook it”. He pointed out that the soft pink to red coloring with white marbling in the chop meant it would be excellent in flavor and tenderness.
Just 2 weeks ago while in Dallas my son-in-law and I butterflied a leg of lamb and smoked it ~ can I hear a D E L I C I O U S. So with what I read for that culinary cooking treat I knew I wanted to brown the sides of my cute lil’ lamb chops and then pop them into a hot oven to finish them off. THE ONLY WAY TO check and see if lamb is done is with a meat thermometer ~ easy and accurate. And the rule is DO NOT cut into a roast or chop to check doneness. Always let the lamb rest before serving to allow the meat’s juices to settle. My lil’ chop only needed a 5 minute nap but when Brandon and I smoked our huge butterfly we allowed it 20 minutes to sleep. And when the naps were over both times I found the meat temperature had risen 5-10 degrees just like the cookbook said. As a rule ground lamb needs an internal temperature of 160oF and roasts and chops, should be cooked to 145oF for medium-rare, 160oF for medium, and 170oF for well-done. (Personally, I would suggest a little lower!)
I was serving 3 peeps so I bought 3 loin chops (.58 lbs) for $8.11 ($13.99 per lbs). In the testing mood, I bought 2 lamb shoulder blade chops (1.07 lbs) for $5.87. I was so curious to see what the flavor and tenderness difference was between the two cuts. Let me tell you now, the flavor of both chops was marvelous! The tenderness rating of the loin chop by my peeps included, “oh my goodness this is so tenderness” “WOW outrageous”. For reals! If tenderness is what you are after splurge and buy the loin. I will confess, I loved the blade chop as well. I will definitely be back to the market to buy the blade chop if my budget is tight, and when I have a lil’ extra green backs, I’ll buy the loin chop. P.S. The amount of lamb I bought was plenty of lamb for 3 with leftovers (just a touch of blade chop left).
Here is how to make D E L I C I O U S lamb loin chops!
Gorgonzola Artichoke Heart Stuffed Lamb Loin Chops
3 lamb loin chops (T-bone)
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1 roasted red bell pepper
3 fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon Gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon red wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon hickory smoke gourmet Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
Salt and pepper both sides of the meat.
Chop artichoke hearts, red pepper, and basil together; stir in Gorgonzola cheese.
Make a horizontal slit into the lamb loin and stuff with the artichoke mixture.
Mix red wine, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic on a shallow bowl.
Coat lamb chops in marinade and let rest for 10 minutes flipping the chops every few minutes.
Heat 1/2-tablespoon olive oil on medium-high in a cast-iron frying pan and sear the chops for 4-minutes.
Pour in all the juices from the marinade and cook. If the pan is too hot and begins to smoke turn pan down.
Turn lamb over and sear until lightly brown on second side.
If you have leftover artichoke mixture toss it in too!
If needed, place lamb in pan in 400 degree oven until lamb reaches 135-140 degrees. Yields: 3 lamb loin chops.
I served my lamb entree after my guests enjoyed a course of salad and soup.
Sprinkle Gorgonzola Cheese on top ~ if you wish!
Below are my lamb blade chops. I placed them in another batch of the marinade from above. I smothered extra crushed garlic on the chops and sprinkled lemon pepper. I pan seared the chops in my cast iron skillet until the temp was 140 degrees and let them rest about 7 minutes. They were perfect, slightly pink inside! ~
I can’t wait to have LaMb again cuz
I LoVe LaMb!
~ Lamb BLADE Chops ~
After I flipped the blade chops I added homemade pomegranate molasses! Can I hear a Y~U~ M!
Sorry, I don’t have a good shot of the cooked and plated lamb blade chop for you to drool over!
My guests and I were so hungry we had to eat and I said HECK with the camera!
Until next time ~ Merry Cooking!
Thanks to A Latte with Ott, A for sponsoring this LaMb affair!