August 31, 2011

Lamb Chops with Hot Pepper Cherry Sauce

Since the last batch of grilled lamb chops I made turned out so great, I was eager to grill up some more lamb chops, this time with a different recipe.   I decided I wanted a mix of sweet, fruity and spicy flavors, but since covering something with a sweet sauce and then grilling it is pretty much guaranteed to result in inedibly charred food, I decided I'd season the chops a bit, grill them, then serve the chops with a spicy-sweet sauce.  

Considering the fresh fruit options at the local market, I decided to use cherries in my sauce.  I have plenty of home-grown hot peppers on hand, and knew one of those would give the sauce some bite on hand.  All that remained was to come up with a preliminary recipe and try it out.

I'm happy to report that this recipe worked out great.  The lamb chops cooked up tender and juicy, just like the last batch had, and when topped with the thick, savory-sweet-spicy sauce, they were just plain delicious.  The different seasonings in the sauce provided it with a wonderfully rich blend of flavors.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I wrote the recipe below for eight chops, but I cooked only four, which resulted in me having a lot more sauce than I needed.  If you prefer to cook up a smaller number of chops, halve the ingredients accordingly. 

Lamb Chops with Hot Pepper Cherry Sauce

yield = 4 servings

8               lamb loin or rib chops
1               tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4            teaspoon kosher salt
1/2            teaspoon freshlyground black pepper
1               tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4            cup grated red onion
1               serrano chili, seeded and minced
1/2            cup port wine
1 1/2         cup pitted fresh cherries
1               cup low-sodium chicken broth
2               tablespoons honey
1               teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
                 freshly-ground black pepper and table salt,
                        to taste
1               tablespoon cornstarch

Dry lamb chops with paper towels.   Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.   Prepare grill for two-level (direct and indirect heat) grilling, medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, heat butter to bubbling in a medium saucepan.  Add onion and minced serrano and cook until the onion is sotftened.  Add port and cook down until the liquid s reduced by half.  Add cherries, chicken broth, honey and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to high simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced and somewhat thickened. 

When the grill is ready, grill chops over direct heat for 4 minutes, turning once.  Transfer chops to the cooler part of the grill and cook for 7 more minutes, turning once.  Transfer lamb chops to a serving dish and tent with foil.  Let rest 5 minutes.

While the lamb chops rest, dissolve cornstarch in two teaspoons water.  Stir cornstarch mixture into cherry mixture until thickened.   Transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve lamb chops topped with portions of the cherry sauce. 

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