Hello my little lamb chops!
Cooking for two? A romantic dinner perhaps? Consider the lamb chop—delicate, tender, juicy, and easy. Rub with some chopped herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil, let sit for a bit, sear all over on high heat, let rest a few minutes, and serve. A lamb chop is such a lovely tender cut of meat, you just don’t have to do much to it. In fact, the only thing you really have to take care with is to not overcook it. Lamb is best served rare, though if you have eaters who prefer their meat medium or well, you can always cook it longer. Serve with some mashed potatoes or celery root, and a salad of mixed greens.
In this recipe we are working with lamb rib chops, with two ribs per chop. This yields a thicker piece of meat than if we had single rib chops, and is more forgiving with cooking time if you like your lamb rare or medium rare. If you have single rib chops, which are thinner pieces, you'll have to pay closer attention, and sear quickly, to not overcook the chops. Note that 1 pound of lamb rib chops is about 4 double-rib chops, which serves 2 to 3 people. You can also use lamb loin chops in lieu of rib chops for this recipe.
Lamb chops are best eaten on the rare side. Error on less cooking time than you would expect, that way you can always cook them further if you want them more well done.
- 1 pound lamb chops (lamb rib chops are what are pictured here)
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Before you start, decide if you want your lamb chops rare or medium. If you want your lamb chops rare in the center, you can cook them entirely on the stovetop. If you want them a bit more cooked, and you have double rib chops (2 ribs per piece of meat, each piece of meat about 1/4 of a pound), you will want to finish them in the oven, at 400°F for a few minutes. Or you can cover the pan and remove from the heat and just let sit for a few minutes.
1 In a small bowl, mix the rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together. Coat the lamb chops with the mixture, massaging it into the meat with your fingers. If you are working with double rib chops, cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. (If you are working with single rib chops, and you want the result to be rare, let the chops sit in the rub in the refrigerator, do not let come to room temp or the thin ribs will easily overcook when you sear them in the next step.)
2 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in an oven-proof sauté pan over high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, sear the lamb chops on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. (If you are working with single rib chops, sear only on two sides, and only a minute or so on each side if you want the result to be rare or medium rare.)
3 At this point, if you want your lamb chops rare, they are likely cooked enough. Remove them from the pan, cover them with foil and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. If you would like your chops more cooked, you can put them in a 400°F oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or keep them in the hot pan, remove from heat, and cover the pan for a few minutes. Then remove from the pan to a plate or cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.