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Advice for Lamb Loin Chops?

I've got a whole butchered lamb in the freezer, thanks to my mother in law. Problem is, I'm not a heavy red meat cooker so I have no idea how to cook it. I'm a pretty apt culinarian so I'm confident I'll be able to figure it out, but I need a nudge in the right direction.

First up is the bone-in loin chops. I've marinated them overnight in plain yogurt with garlic, evoo, and three kinds of pepper. I'm planning on pan broiling them - starting them in a hot cast iron skillet and then finishing them up in a 400F oven. I have three questions:

What's the best way to sear the chops with the bones still attached? I prefer to leave them in, but I'm afraid the meat will shrink away, and that I'll only be able to brown one side well.

If I just sear the outside of the lamb on the stovetop, how long should I have them in the oven for?

Can I toss some of the yogurt in the pan, or will that cause a problem? Should I wait to throw the yogurt in after I'm browned the meat and before it goes in the oven?

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  1. I really wish I could help you but I have never cooked or eaten lamb chops in my life. What does it taste like?

    2 Replies
    1. re: LadyintheKitchen

      Too cute :) It tastes like.................LAMB, of course!

      1. re: LadyintheKitchen

        Seriously? ;) They taste like... lamb. It's hard to explain if you've never had it - it tastes a little gamey and stronger than beef. I love it!

      2. I've only ever done them on the grill - about four minutes a side. What was the point of the yogurt? I like lamb chops medium rare. Seem to be alot of variables here. Perhaps you can check epicurious.

        3 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          Yogurt is a great tenderizer due its live cultures and lactic acid, and I'm making a middle eastern-inspired, where they use a lot of yogurt (think tandoori chicken). Here's one recipe I found that you might check out:

          http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recip...

          1. re: morphone

            I think I'm rather a purist when it comes to lamb. All I want to taste is lamb. Will the yogurt burn if seared etc.?

            1. re: c oliver

              Not at all - mine tonight turned out amazing. The meat seared beautifully on medium high heat, and the finished in the oven for a few. No burning at all. :)

        2. I don't know why you felt the need for the yogurt marinade. I simply brush the chops with EVOO, dust with S&P, and broil 4 minutes per side.

          3 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Flavor and tenderizing? Yogurt's a great carrier for garlic, pepper, and other seasonings.

            1. re: morphone

              You don't need to tenderize loin lamb chops, and I think their flavor needs no enhancing.

          2. I just prepared a set of 4 lamb chops. I marinaded them for about an hour in a mix olive oil, sherry, rosemary, salt and pepper. Then heated the oven to 400. Set an ovenproof skillet on the burner. When hot, put the chops in, and then put the pan in the oven. In effect I let the oven do the searing with the help of the preheated pan.

            I didn't time things, just kept an eye and ear on the sizzle. Turned them once, and started testing with a thermometer. These were 1" thick chops (2 bones each, roughly).

            While I let them rest, I drained the fat, poured the remaining marinade in the pan along with some sherry and stock, and made a quick pan gravy.

            1. tandoori lamb chops are phenomenal.
              http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/lu...
              http://www.curryfrenzy.com/curry/reci...

              the marinade with yogurt (famously a tenderizer) and spices lets the lamb shine, but at a whole new level of flavorfulness.

              another lamb recipe with yogurt marinade is "boti kabob": http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-00...

              one taste of either the tandoori lamb chops or the boti kabob will clarify the beauty of lamb marinated in yogurt and spices.

              morphone, you did or did not add in the yogurt to the pan? i'd say not. if so, how did it hold up? didn't it break?

              3 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                Thanks Alkapal! I will definitely try those.

                I did add yogurt to the pan - and then once the meat was done I added a little white wine to get up the fond, then reduced the whole thing with mushrooms. It was a brilliant gravy. I don't understand what you mean by "break" though. Do you mean did the yogurt curdle?

                1. re: morphone

                  no, i meant break (as in a sauce breaking, liquids coming out of the emulsion...or with yogurt, the solids separating from the moisture. whey?), but also maybe "curdle". usually when yogurt is added to hot ingredients, or isn't tempered.

                  http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/...

                  http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/...

                  http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/food-c...

                  i googled the concept to see if i was nuts. see instruction #5 here in this fabulous looking recipe for kofta curry!!!! http://www.opensourcefood.com/people/...

                  this food blog entry concerns certain mid-eastern cooking with yogurt: http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/...
                  it has nice links, too.

                  oh my goodness, i am SOOOOOO making this mango in yogurt curry: http://blog.sigsiv.com/2007/11/mambaz...

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Those recipes look AMAZING. Thanks :)

                    And I didn't have a problem curdling or separating, probably because I cooked the yogurt in the pan with the meat - perhaps the juices helped prevent any weirdness.

              2. I tend not to marinate chops in yoghurt but I do marinate a leg or shoulder before roasting. I debone the leg and then butterfly it - this means that there are some good slashes to work a yoghurt/garlic/pepper mix into (add whatever north african/eastern mediterranean spices you think might work.)

                5 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  What's the best way to butterfly a leg?

                  1. re: morphone

                    The *best* way is to get your butcher to do it for you as s/he 'll be expert. Unfortunately I don't use my village butcher (as his meat's crap).

                    I use a smallish sharp knife. A leg has a single bone running through it and what you're going to do is remove it. I start at the top (thickest part) and make a good cut down to the bone. Now it's just a case of gradually working the cut down the leg and, also, working the knife round the bone. It's fiddly but you'll then end up with a single, opened-out slab of meat.

                    What I then do is to slash any parts where its much thicker than the rest (so you even out the thickness and, therefore, cooking time). You can cook this as it is (or with any flavourings you feel you want with lamb). It'll roast nicely and, also, is a good piece of meat to put on a BBQ.

                    For the eastern Med touch (I always think of this as Cypriot, because that's where I first had it), I mix the marinade as above and rub it over the slashed flesh side. When it comes to cooking (and it won't take long - 15/20 minutes tops in the oven ), I do it skin side up for most of the time and then turn it marinade side up for the last few minutes so that it bakes on but doesnt burn.

                    Whatever you do, don't try your first butterfly on a shoulder. The bone structure is much harder to work round than leg.

                    J

                    1. re: Harters

                      Thanks! I need to find a beginning butcher video or something. I think that would make this much easier. ;)

                2. I am sure you have already made this :) but leeet me answer nevertheless :)...maybe it might be of use for next time :).

                  In searing, the meat will shrink away a little but that does not matter because it will be beautiful anyway. Try to remove as much of the marinade as possible for searing because the water content in the yogurt will cause your lamb to steam not sear.
                  Then, using tongs, rotate each side until all aides are browned evenly. Then as you mention, add the yogurt in as you are putting the lamb in the oven.
                  As for cooking time, the searing time does not affect the cooking time for larger pieces of meat with bones in it. The original time should be okay.

                  Happy eating, Oana

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: morphone

                      Super welcome! Glad to be of service :)
                      Happy eating, Oana

                  1. I like lamb shoulder for a stew or braise with garlic, onion, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, chile and prunes or raisins and dates. My brother adds preserved lemon, which I hear is great, too. I usually make it the night before, then refrigerate and remove much of the fat in the morning, then reheat and serve with coucous. The flavors develop better this way, and if you prefer you can wait to add the dried fruit until you reheat.

                    Alkapal, thanks for those recipes, which look delicious!