I visited my local butcher, Staubitz Meat Market, yesterday to inquire about their lamb chops. One of the very helpful and knowledgeable butchers there told me that the lamb that they had out in the case comes from Iowa and is commercially raised. I asked if he had any pasture raised lamb, and, although I wasn't expecting him to say yes, he went to the back of the store and a minute later returned with beautiful lamb loin chops in hand. This meat, he explained, came from a small farm in Pennsylvania and was pasture raised without any antibiotics or hormones. "Yes", I said, "I'll take that, please." Even though I paid considerably more for the pastured meat ($19.99/lb versus $12.99/lb), I without a doubt knew I made the right decision. Plus, we only eat meat a few times a month, so I feel ok with splurging a little when we do have meat. And, basically what it comes down to is, I'd rather pay 50% more for the good stuff and eat meat 50% less. I'll take the quality over quantity. Let's face it, as a nation, we are nowhere near meat deprived.
As I had mentioned in my last post, I had decided earlier in the week that I wanted to make a sweet and tart rhubarb chutney to complement the rich, gamey lamb. I had formulated a combination of ingredients that I thought would be just delicious together: rhubarb, onion, ginger, cinnamon and orange zest. I was not let down. The chutney turned out wonderfully. Sweet, tart and savory and was perfect over the lamb loin chops. I served this with a small scoop of Lebanese couscous and a full bodied red wine.
Seared Lamb Loin Chops with Rhubarb Chutney
3 c. rhubarb, cup into 1/2" pieces
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1" piece fresh ginger, grated
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp salt
few strips orange zest
2 lamb loin chops per person
salt & pepper
Combine all chutney ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer uncovered over med-low heat for about 20 mins. Remove cinnamon stick and strips of orange zest and adjust seasoning.
To prepare lamb, pat lamb dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon or so of canola oil in a cast iron or stainless steel pan over med-high heat. When pan is very hot, carefully add lamb chops. Sear about 5 mins per side for medium rare. Transfer to plates and top with rhubarb chutney.