Seared Lamb Loin Chops with Mint-Pistachio Pesto
I just love seared, medium-rare lamb loin chops!
I do like them, A Bachelor and His Grill I am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat (but, not with a lamb – that would just be a bit outside my comfort zone).
And I will eat them in the rain (or snow – lots and lots of snow!).
And in the dark.
And on a train.
And in a car (but, not while driving – that’s just dangerous).
And in a tree.
They are so good, so good you see!
So I will grill them in a box (made of stainless steel, with rust-resistant, porcelain-coated cast iron grates, emitting 40,000 BTUs of TRU-Infrared heat).
And I will grill them with a (house-broken and well-mannered) fox.
And I will grill them in a house.
And I will grill them with a mouse (well… maybe not a mouse).
And I will grill them here and there.
Say! I will grill them ANYWHERE (seriously)!
Okay. Okay. I think you get where I’m going here. So lets get down to business.
Most folks are familiar with fancy-pants, bone-in, Frenched lamb rib chops (which are also absolutely delectable), but don’t realize there are actually three cuts of lamb chops – shoulder (cheapest cut), rib (moderately priced), and the loin (most expensive). The loin chops are thick, meaty, incredibly tender, heart-shaped cuts from the lower portion of the lamb’s back, behind the ribs. Loin chops are best prepared by seasoning simply, but liberally, then searing over high heat. Serve at medium rare (135 degrees internal temperature) or medium (145 degrees ) and pair with a full-bodied red wine such as a Barolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz.
Although this recipe is incredibly simple, the product you purchase and timing in your process are critical to success in searing mouth-watering lamb loin chops with fresh mint-pistachio pesto.
1. Purchase great lamb chops. Keep in mind three things: thickness, color, and marbling. Lamb chops should be no thinner than 1 inch and ideally between 1 1/2 and 2 inches thick. The chops should be pink. The darker the shading towards red indicates an older, less flavorful cut of meat. There should be a good deal of marbling in the lamb. This fat between the muscle fibers amplifies and carries flavor throughout the chop.
2. Start with the end in mind – work your way backwards through the recipe so your timing is perfect. Example: The recipe requires 5 minutes of resting the meat before serving, 6-10 minutes for grilling, 1 hour of marinating and 15 minutes to prep. That’s 90 minutes. Only 20-25 minutes is active prep and grilling time. So, use the inactive time wisely. During the marinating time, dry roast the pistachios, prepare the pesto, uncork and drink the wine. During the time allocated to resting the grilled lamb chops, prepare serving plates and drink wine. After serving the loin chops and pesto, drink wine.
3. This is low-maintenance recipe. Let your grill do the work! Sear the chops over medium high, direct heat, with an uncovered grill lid, and only touch the chops three times. First touch: Place the seasoned chops on the grill grates. Second touch: Turn over half way through grilling (3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, 4-6 minutes per side for medium). Third touch: Remove the chops from the grill and place under a tin foil tent to rest. No other poking, prodding, flipping or managing of the meat is required.
Now off to purchase lamb, then back home for a hot date with your grill and a bottle (or 2) of great red wine. Cheers!
Seared Lamb Loin Chops with Mint-Pistachio Pesto
- 6 Omaha Steaks Lamb Loin Chops
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Parsley chopped, to garnish
- A Bachelor & His Grill's "Mint-Pistachio Pesto," recipe below
- Place the lamb chops in an air-tight plastic bag. Mix the olive oil, garlic, thyme, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper thoroughly and add to the bag. Seal and refrigerate 1-4 hours, turning occasionally.
- Remove the chops from refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking, bringing the meat back to near room temperature.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Gently lay the lamb chops over direct heat of the grill's hottest grates, searing for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare (135 degrees internal temperature) or 4-6 minutes per side for medium (145 degrees).
- Remove the chops from the grill and immediately, place them under a tin foil tent for 3-5 minutes to rest.
- Serve with A Bachelor and His Grill's, "Mint-Pistachio Pesto." (recipe below).
- ½ cup salted pistachios
- 2 cups cups fresh mint packed
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley packed
- ½ cup fresh basil packed
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil plus additional as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Dry roast the pistachios, in single layer, on a lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until just fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Pulse together all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor.
- Pour the olive oil 1/4 cup at a time, pulsing until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.