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Chicagoist Cooks: Mint Apple Lamb Chops

By Caroline Clough in Food on Nov 15, 2007 3:30PM

2007_november_chicagoist_lamb.jpgLast week we had a hankering for some lamb. We get this craving with some frequency, most often while in nice restaurants. But we have a problem with cooking certain kinds of meat at home. When at a restaurant we don't hesitate in ordering something medium rare and - when the cut of meat warrants it - even straight up rare. However, we have a hard time recreating those meat conditions when in the comfort of our own kitchen. We never feel confident that the filet, chop or burger is cooked properly.

Our meat thermometer's crib sheet says meat will be properly cooked at a certain temperature and yet when we cook something to that temperature, the result is an over-cooked piece of meat; this is especially true with lamb and steak. It's a flaw in our cooking knowledge that we have yet to find a proper way to fix. And so we continue trying, last week with lamb chops. We admit that ours turned out a little overcooked (no surprise) but the marinade and basic shape of this recipe is solid. We encourage you to kindly share with us your methods of cooking meat so it's nice and brown on the outside but that luscious pink in the center. Really, how do you do that?

This is a recipe for one lamb chop.

What You Need:

1 lamb chop
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 thinly chopped apples
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
salt and pepper to taste

What You Do:

1. Place all the ingredients into a ziploc bag or shallow dish of some kind. Make sure that the lamb chop is properly coated with all the herbs and liquids. Put in the refrigerator and marinate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 if you'd like.

2. In a cast-iron skillet place an additional few tablespoons of olive oil. Over medium to high heat, cook the lamb.

3. As we said before, we didn't really master the cooking time for this dish. We cooked the lamb for five minutes a side over medium-high heat then lowered the temperature and covered the skillet for an additional five to ten minutes. This was a bad decision on our part, the meat was cooked all the way through and then some. The temperature read it was properly cooked but, really, we ruined the piece of meat.

4. Read what the people below say about cooking lamb and try that.

Notes and thoughts:

1. Find yourself quality meat. If you start out with a sub-standard piece of meat nothing great will come of it.

2. We accompanied this lamb with a side of blackened garlic potatoes with a smattering of cooked apples.

3. We know, we ruined it. We get it already.