The other day, after lunch, my boyfriend and I went grocery shopping. We like to go at the beginning of the week so we can stock up our kitchen, removing the temptation to order delivery every night. People always tell you not to shop when you’re hungry, but it can be equally detrimental to shop when you’re full. As we wandered around from aisle to aisle, shaking our heads at each other’s suggestions, I realized we needed to pick one item and form a meal around that. Byron chose a sweet potato.
It was a good choice. There are so many ways to eat sweet potatoes – baked, roasted, pureed, mashed, the list goes on. Since winter is still lingering in NYC, I decided that mashed sweet potatoes would be just the thing to warm us up. From there we rounded the meat counter. I grew up with a mother who didn’t eat red meat and therefore cooked a lot chicken and fish. I find that now, with full rein over my own kitchen, I tend to want to experiment with all the protein that my childhood lacked. Whenever I see a meat counter, with all its different varieties and cuts, my eyes light up like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to buy it all, but instead I bought two double lamb chops, and our meal took shape. Lamb chops are a more expensive cut of meat, but when paired with very inexpensive sides, such as potatoes, the cost evens out. The following dish is perfect for a date night at home or when you just want to indulge!
Rosemary Crusted Lamb Chops with Red Wine Reduction
Caramelized Balsamic Cippolini Onions
Sage & Roasted Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Serving Size: 2
Time: 1 Hour
Difficulty: Medium* (but worth it!)
– 1 medium pot
– 1 small pot
– 2 medium sauté pans
– 1 small baking sheet or a cake pan
– a cutting board
– a knife
– a ricer or potato masher
– a large bowl
– a slotted spoon
– 2 double wide lamb rib chops
– 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
– 6 cippolini onions, whole, first layer peeled off
– 1 bunch rosemary, finely chopped, two small sprigs reserved
– zest of one orange
– 10 sage leaves, thinly sliced
– 8 cloves of garlic
– ½ cup canola oil
– ½ cup olive oil, plus 2 tsp
– 1 tbs butter
– 2 tbs low fat milk
– 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
– 1 cup red wine
– 1 tbs sugar
– salt & pepper to taste
*This is a lesson of multi-tasking. This recipe allows time for more than one task to happen at once. Read the preparation through entirely before starting and then just go with it!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In your mixing bowl, combine the ½ cup olive oil, rosemary, orange zest and a pinch of salt & pepper. Rub this mixture over both chops, massaging it in. Set aside.
Place the sweet potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold, salted water. Place on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring every so often. Boil for about 5 minutes. Test the potatoes with a fork for doneness. They should break apart easily and be soft to the touch.
While your potatoes are cooking, in your small pot, add the garlic cloves and cover them completely with the canola oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to add more oil so the garlic is submerged. Place over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the garlic turns golden brown.
Heat a sauté pan over high heat (the bigger of the two if they differ in size). Once hot, add the lamb chops, starting fat side down for 5 minutes. Sear on three remaining sides for about 4 minutes each or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from pan and place onto the baking sheet, fat side up. Roast in oven for 15 minutes for medium rare. Once you remove the chops from the oven let them rest for 5 minutes.
Over medium heat, add the wine to the hot pan the lamb chops just came out of. Stir in the sugar and let the wine reduce for about 10 minutes.
While the chops are in the oven, heat the 2 remaining teaspoons of olive oil in your other sauté pan. Add the cippolini onions and reduce the heat to medium low. If your heat is too high, the onions will burn. Low heat will allow the onions to caramelize and cook through in the process. Cook onions for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Once both sides are nicely browned and onions have softened, add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced and reaches a syrupy texture. Flip onions in vinegar to coat both sides.
Drain your potatoes. And place them in the ricer in batches. (If you’re using a masher, return them to their pot once drained) Rice the potatoes directly in the hot pot they just came out of. With your slotted spoon, carefully remove the garlic from the oil and place the cloves into the ricer with a batch of potatoes. Let the oil cool in a bowl or jar and then either keep for cooking in the fridge or dispose of in the trash once solidified. Once the potatoes are back in the pot, add your butter, milk and sage. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Carefully, and starting at the rib end, cut your chops apart. You might need to put in some extra effort to cut through the bone at the end, but it will come apart cleanly.
Plating: first place a large spoonful of sweet potatoes on the plate. Then, lean two of the chops against them, exposing the interior of the meat. Drizzle the red wine reduction over the chop and around the potatoes. Then, place three of the onions on each plate and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.