Did you know that plain yogurt is an excellent base for a marinade? It slowly tenderizes the meat, rendering it juicy, but never meaty or tough; plus it leaves a pleasant tangy flavor behind. In this case, a simple blend of yogurt, shallot, lemon and salt is a perfect match for lamb’s richness.
A portion of the mixture is set aside to purée with tender green herbs and lemon juice for a quick finishing sauce after the lamb is done. The original recipe called for baby lamb chops (aka lollipop chops), but we prefer a meatier cut such as the loin chop, and the ingredients list reflects our changes.
The yogurt sauce mixture not only complimented the meat but benefited the sliced cucumbers as well. Another side was whole wheat pearl couscous cooked in homemade chicken stock for added flavor.
Herby Yogurt Sauce with Grilled Lamb Chops and Cucumber Couscous Salad
- 1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, all from 1 lemon
- 8 loin lamb chops
- 1 cup packed fresh tender herbs (such as parsley, dill and mint leaves), plus more for serving
- 1 cup pearl whole wheat couscous, cooked according to package directions
- 1 cucumber, sliced thin for serving
- Stir together yogurt, shallot, salt, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Measure 1 cup of the mixture into a large ziploc bag. Cover and refrigerate the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt mixture.
- Add lamb chops to ziploc bag; seal bag and turn to coat lamb in sauce. Let marinate in the fridge at least 2 hours, and up to 24. Ours marinated 8 hours.
- Preheat grill to high (450°-500°). Scrape off excess marinate from lamb, then discard the bag .
- Sprinkle chops evenly with salt and pepper. Arrange chops on oiled grill grates. Grill covered, turning once or twice until browned and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 135° for medium-rare; about 10 minutes total; lollipop chops will take about 5 minutes.
- Transfer chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, transfer reserved yogurt mixture to a food processor. Add fresh herbs and lemon juice; pulse until smooth, about 20 pulses.
- Serve lamb alongside sauce, cooked couscous, cucumbers and additional herbs.
Adapted from a recipe for Food & Wine Magazine