Molly Stevens is one of our go-to chef/authors when it comes to braising and roasting—a great way to spend a gloomy, early-March Sunday. As I was thumbing through her All About Roasting cookbook, I was immediately drawn to the Basic Roasted Thick-Cut Lamb Loin Chops recipe because we had a packet in the freezer. Yes, we only had five chops and the recipe called for eight, but there was just the two of us—so no leftovers, I could live with that.
Now, even though it takes less than 15 minutes to cook, keep in mind you need to marinate the lamb anywhere from 4 to 24 hours (the amount of time we did), and then let the meat come to room temperature for about an hour before tossing in the oven. If you’re unfamiliar, the charmoula marinade is a zesty herb and garlic sauce from the Middle East.
This recipe is so easy but produces incredible results and is a perfect entrée for entertaining because all of the prep is done in advance. When it’s time to roast the lamb, the recipe instructs you to arrange a 1/4″-thick-area of salt on a rimmed baking sheet, and set a rack above that on which you place the meat—never did that before. Our guess for the reason is because you don’t flip the chops, the salt intensifies the heat and actually helps brown the underside.
Now about those accompaniments. Another Molly winner from her roasting cookbook was the Mustard-Crusted Roast Potatoes. OMG, what delightful little devils! With lots of mustard and a splash of lemon juice you wonder how they result in a crunchy exterior. But despite all that liquidy goo, in addition to garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper, the taters finish with a golden-brown crustiness and intriguing depth of flavor. A blue-ribbon winner in our minds!
Rounding out the gastronomic trifecta was the Creamy Brussels Sprouts. Even if you’re a sworn Brussels sprouts hater, you should give these babies a try. The key to cooking them is to chop them into small pieces so they release their pungency; while using heavy cream as the braising liquid brings out their inherent sweetness even more. The cream will reduce itself into a thick, ivory-colored glaze that coats the sprouts. If you want to dress them up a bit, or add some texture, top with crumbled bacon or toasted hazelnuts.
Thanks Molly for a fabulous meal!
Basic Roasted Thick-Cut Lamb Loin Chops
- 8 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch-thick) lamb loin chops
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika (pimentón dulce) or sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until aromatic and slightly darker, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Transfer to processor.
- Add parsley leaves and next 6 ingredients to processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse paste forms.
- With machine running, gradually add 4 tablespoons oil. Transfer 2 tablespoons charmoula to small bowl; whisk in lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
- Cover and chill to serve with lamb.
- Transfer remaining charmoula to large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb chops; seal bag and turn to coat well. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Let lamb and charmoula sauce in bowl stand at room temperature 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Cover a 10″ x 6″ area of a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (salt does not have to cover entire sheet) with about 1/4″ layer of salt. Set rack over prepared baking sheet, place lamb on rack over salted area.
- Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 135°F for medium-rare, about 13 minutes.
- Transfer lamb to platter. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
Mustard-Crusted Roasted Potatoes
We cut the recipe in half for just the two of us, and there was still plenty leftover.
Mustard-Crusted Roasted Potatoes
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds unpeeled red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk together mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, Aleppo pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add potatoes and toss to coat. Spread potatoes on prepared baking sheet into a single layer. With spatula, scrape the bowl for any leftover mixture and drizzle onto potatoes.
- Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times and shaking to restore a single layer until potatoes are crusty outside and tender throughout, about 50-55 minutes.
- Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.
Creamy Brussels Sprouts
Creamy Brussels Sprouts
- 1 Lb. small Brussels sprouts
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- 1/2 lemon
- Trim the sprouts, cut through the core into halves. If necessary cut again to make little wedges no more than 1/2″ across.
- Melt the butter in a large 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming stops, add the sprouts and season with salt and white pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts begin to brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the cream, stir, cover, and reduce to a slow simmer. Braise over low heat until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 30-35 minutes.
- Remove the cover, stir in a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. Let simmer uncovered for a few minutes to thicken the cream to a glaze that coats the Brussels sprouts. Serve hot.