For someone who loves lamb as much as I do, I don't cook it nearly enough. Be it grilled chops, a roasted butterflied leg, or braised chunks of lamb shoulder….I love it any way I can get it. Interestingly, as good as the spiced lamb is in this dish, we enjoyed the chickpea purée so much too that it's hard to say which was the star of the plate. This is one of those dishes that is so perfectly conceived that the whole adds up to way more than the sum of it's parts.
The original recipe calls for cooking the chickpeas from scratch rather than using canned as I did, and has you add crème fraiche as opposed to goat cheese and ramps to flavor them. I'm sure they're delicious as written, but I must say the cheese and ramp combo was an awesome one. The lemon-butter pan sauce and shower of fresh mint send this dish into the stratosphere. If like me you are a lamb lover, make this one soon….it is SO GOOD!
Cheers – Steve
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 medium lemons, finely grated to yield 1 tablespoon zest, and squeezed to yield 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon juice
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 - 1 1/2" to 2" thick lamb loin chops
- 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 2 - 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzos)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 12 ramps
- 12 mint leaves, cut into thin ribbons
- Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and finely grind. Add the lemon zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix together with your fingers, then rub into the lamb chops coating both sides well; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Clean and trim the root end of the ramps, then separate the leaves from the stems. Cut the stems into thin medallions. Stack and roll the leaves, then chiffonade them. Saute the stems in a little EVOO in a skillet set over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the leaves and a pinch of salt and saute for one more minute. Pull the pan from the heat and reserve.
- Meanwhile, place the chickpeas (with their liquid) in a sauce pan, add about 1 cup of water and the beay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a gently simmer and let cook for 30 minutes. Ladle off 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the chickpeas removing the bay leaves. Add the drained chickpeas and goat cheese to the bowl of a food processor and blitz until a rough paste forms. With the processor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup EVOO, then slowly add enough of the reserved cooking liquid until the purée is smooth and achieves your desired consistency. Spoon the purée into a medium pan, stir in the sauteed ramps and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste, then cover and keep warm.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat it with a slick of EVOO. Add the chops (working in batches if necessary) and cook 3-5 minutes on the first side, until a deep-golden brown. Using tongs, lean the chops on their edges to sear the fat and meat all around, then flip to their uncooked side and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes until cooked to an internal temperature of 13o℉ for medium-rare.
- Transfer chops to a cutting board and tent with foil to rest. Pour out any excess oil from the pan then return to the heat, add 1/4 cup water and the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and cook until reduced by half, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cubed butter. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- To serve, spoon the chickpea purée on a plate, top with 2 chops, spoon sauce over the top, then sprinkle with ribbons of fresh mint.