Lamb may be a common meat in many households, but not in mine because my mom cannot tolerate the gaminess of the meat. So I have never had lamb chops at home until I was in primary school when she cooked me the dish for my birthday.
It was one of the best meals that I remember eating because it had a flavour that I’ve never experienced before. And for someone who doesn’t eat lamb or mutton, she was able to prepare a meal that got a 7-year-old me hooked on that meat.
While some people may complain about the gaminess of this meat, others who love lamb and mutton expect this smell and flavour when eating it. One of the most effective ways of reducing the pungency is to trim away the fat before cooking, or to choose a leaner cut of meat such as the leg.
Over the years, I’ve learned to find ways to reduce the gaminess of lamb and the availability of fresh herbs has helped in getting rid of the distinctive smell of the meat.
This recipe for marinating lamb is one that I’ve developed over the years and now I use it whenever I need to grill it over the stovetop or if I’m asked to prepare a barbecue. It has a distinctive green hue in the herbal paste, which will turn brown when cooked on the grill.
Although lamb tends to be a bit fat, extra virgin olive oil is needed as a vehicle for the marinade to travel into the meat and also tenderises it. After marinating overnight, the flavour of all the herbs and spices would’ve penetrated down to the bone and even my mom was able to eat a small portion of it without being overwhelmed by its gaminess.
You may serve lamb with mint sauce if you wish, but I feel you don’t need it because the marinade would have sufficiently dispelled the pungency of the meat.
When preparing for a barbecue, I usually marinate and grill more than is needed and I would keep the leftovers for a lamb stew, or to be made into wraps. It’s one of my favourite ways of enjoying a meat that has so much flavour and brings back so much nostalgia for me.
- 600g lamb shoulder chops
- 1 bulb garlic
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10g fresh parsley
- 10g fresh rosemary
- 10g fresh thyme
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- 1 tbsp black pepper to taste
- 1 bulb onion, sliced
- 2 hearts of baby romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1 pod ripe tomato, diced
- 3 sheets tortilla wrap
- Blend garlic, parsley, rosemary and thyme with olive oil, salt and pepper into a fine paste in an electric mill. Spread the herbal paste on all sides of the lamb chops and marinate at least two hours or overnight.
- Heat a skillet to medium high and grill the lamb chops for about 2 minutes on each side until well-seared and lightly crispy. Set aside to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
- In the meantime using the remaining oil in the skillet, sauté the onions until slightly wilted and caramelised. Season the onions with salt to taste.
- Serve the lamb chops warm with sautéed onions and lettuce and tomatoes, and mint sauce if desired.
- In case you have leftover lamb, cut the grilled meat into narrow strips. Toast the tortilla wrap on a hot skillet until lightly singed, then spread a drizzle of mayonnaise over the sheet of bread. Place the strips of meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and caramelised onions in layers on the flat bread, then wrap the contents into a log and cut into two short rolls.
- Serve immediately as a warm breakfast or pack as a snack on the go.