Thank goodness for coffee. And thank goodness for lamb chops. If you’ve tired of serving up the same chicken, pork or beef, or your family has openly refused to eat more of the same, consider shaking up your menu with these succulent lamb chops. Guaranteed to be tender—they are after all lamb and not mutton—juicy and easy to cook, you can give your family a much needed break from their regular dinner.
Unlike a rack of lamb, lamb chops are easy to work with and simple to prepare. Unless the chops you buy are already cleaned, you’ll need to remove the layer of fat and the tendon that covers one side of each chop. The fat is already loose and can easily be pulled away from the side of the meat with only your fingers. But don’t remove it completely. It serves as handle for removing the tendon that lies underneath it. Simply slide the tip of a boning knife between the tendon and the meat starting at the bone end and gently slice, with the blade pointing slightly upward, toward the tip of the chop. The tendon and the fat come away with little work.
After that, your chops are ready to cook. We’ll be grilling these chops, either on a gas grill outside, or if the weather is just too fierce, on a grill pan on the stove top. In either case, we want to start with a moderately hot grill surface and then reduce the temperature to medium-low once the meat is down. Unlike a large cut of beef or thick pork loin chop, our small lamb chops will quickly overcook if the heat is too high. The lamb chops pictured are cooked to medium rare. Cooking beyond medium is strongly advised against. The inside should still contain some pink coloring even when cooked to medium.
Medium rare can be achieved by cooking the chops for 4 minutes a side on a hot grill that has been turned down to medium-low. For medium chops, add one minute extra to each side. Allow the chops to sit for a minute while you plate all your other sides. But they don’t need a 10 minute rest. Because they lack the mass of a large cut of meat, they’ll quickly cool beyond palatably warm. As such, the lamb chops should be the last thing you cook before plating. In fact, if you are serving this semi-formally, the time it takes to plate everything should be a sufficient enough resting time for these diminutive chops.
The chutney served with these chops is meant to be warm so keep the peach mixture in the hot pan until you are ready to serve your entire meal. Since this meal is both out of season, and the peaches are cooked, using frozen fruit is certainly the way to ensure both the best quality and availability. But if you’ve chosen to make this dish in the summer, using fresh peaches is certainly a plus.
It’s time to perk up your dinner with these island-flavor inspired, caffeine-imbued lamb chops.
Coffee Glazed Lamb Chops with Gingered Peach Chutney
for the chutney
- ¼ sliced red onion
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup dried apricots, diced
- ¼ water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon torn fresh mint leaves
for the glaze
- ¼ cup strong brewed coffee
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white or dark rum
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- ½ ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ red pepper flakes
for the lamb chops
- 8 lamb chops, trimmed
- coarse ground salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Season the trimmed lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside. Prepare the glaze by simmering all the ingredients for it in a shallow pan or skillet until the glaze is thick and bubbly. About 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Preheat the grill if using a gas grill.
Prepare the chutney. Sautee the onion in the olive oil in a 2 quart sauce pan until it is tender and fragrant but not brown. Add the rest of the chutney ingredients and simmer until the chutney is hot through and the peaches are tender/soft.
Glaze one side of the lamb chops with the glaze and grill them, glaze side up, on a hot grill turned to medium for 4 minutes a side for medium rare chops, 5 minutes a side for medium. Glaze the other side once you turn them. If you are using a grill pan on the stove top, heat it to hot, then turn down the heat to medium. Grill for the same time. Allow the chops to rest a minute or two before serving.