Oven-Seared Lamb Chops


Using the oven gives you perfect lamb chops with less work and far less mess.
TIME 20 to 30 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
1 garlic clove, optional
2 pounds bone-in lamb chops (any kind, at least 1 inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, quartered, for serving


Method
1 Turn the kitchen fan on and, if you can, open a window. Heat the oven to its maximum temperature, ideally 500°F, and set a rack in the lowest possible position (if you can, put it directly on the oven floor). Set a large ovenproof skillet on the rack and let it heat in the oven until it is almost smoking, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven.

2 While the pan is heating, cut the garlic clove in half if you’re using it and rub it all over the meat. Carefully remove the heated pan from the oven, sprinkle its surface with a generous pinch of salt, add as many of the chops as will fit without overcrowding, and immediately return the pan to the oven.

3 Roast the chops until seared and dark brown underneath; they’re ready to turn when they release from the pan easily, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops. Cook on the other side to the desired doneness, another 2 to 5 minutes; start checking the inside with a sharp knife after 2 minutes. Remove the chops from the pan, sprinkle with pepper, and let them rest for at least 5 minutes; if you’re cooking in batches, pour any juices over the meat and repeat with the remaining chops. Serve with the lemon.

Tips
  • Lamb chops can come from the ribs, loin, or shoulder. Rib and loin chops are both bone in with a small amount of fat and cook up quite tender. They’re best eaten rare to medium-rare. Since they’re small, figure 2 or more per person. Rib chops are the most familiar: They have little bones (like handles) sticking out of the ends, and when they’re still attached in a single roast, they’re known as rack of lamb. If you can, get them 2 ribs thick so they don’t cook too fast. Loin chops are like mini T-bone steaks with the bone in the center. Chops cut from the shoulder, which are less expensive, fattier, and more flavorful, are best cooked to medium so more of the gristle softens. They’re much bigger than other chops, so 1 per person is usually enough.

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