Friday, April 13, 2012

Rosemary & Mustard Lamb Chops

The Spring is here and along with the welcomed milder weather comes many wonderful produce into season. I always like to cook in season, as I can mostly buy Irish and also the flavour is incomparable to its out-of-season alternative. Many ingredients are currently at their best, including rhubarb, wild garlic, asparagus and of course spring lamb. While I was growing up, my father had a large flock of sheep. Springtime meant the addition of lots of adorable baby lambs. There were always a few ewes that didn't take to their babies, so these little mites inevitably became pet lambs and, like all babies, they needed feeds around the clock. One can get very attached to this creatures and I absolutely adored them, so much so that my father was never allowed to sell any that I had really taken a shine to. I think similar to any child that grows up on a farm I loved lots of the farm animals. I certainly never liked the thoughts of them being sold to anyone other than another farmer and consequently, I became a vegetarian for about 12 years. Into my adult life, I eventually decided to put a halt to my meat ban and I started to eat chicken, then beef but only in recent years have I started to enjoy lamb again. My local butcher sells lamb that is always less than a year in age and is sourced within miles of his abattoir. Even though I still love the sight of little lambs in the fields, I've really come to appreciate lamb for its high nutritional content and its delicate sweet flavour.



The lamb chops for this dish are French trimmed, which your butcher can do for you, but they are simply a rack of lamb which is cut into chops. Lamb marries quite well with mustard and rosemary, so I've included these in the marinade. These lamb chops are delicious served with some creamy mash, some roasted  root veg and a drizzle of mint sauce.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1/2 lemon
9 lamb cutlets/chops, French trimmed

Method
1. In a large shallow dish combine the rosemary, dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
2. Add the chops and cover them evenly with the marinade.
3. Cover the dish with some cling film and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours.
4. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, sear the lamb chops on both sides to colour. Reduce the heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cutlets, or until the meat is cooked to your liking. 
5. Remove from the pan and allow the chops to rest on a hot plate for a few minutes before serving.
Enjoy!
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I was recently going through old photos, picking some out to frame and add to my wall of family photos in the kitchen. Unlike nowadays, when I was growing up, the camera was generally only used for special occasions. I expect this came down to the fact that it was rather expensive to print 24 photos, especially when there was no preview of the photos taken, and the possibility of most of them being either out of focus or completely blank was always a fair possibility! Photographs give us an amazing insight into times gone by and on searching through boxes of pics I found this photo of myself and my Mam, with two of my pet lambs. I thought that I would share them with you, since I was publishing this post. I was a real tomboy and the reason for the dress, and probably the photo, was a Feis that I was making my way to, which was obligatory every year in rural Ireland.



The next photo was more my everyday attire of a tracksuit and wellies. Both of these photos were taken around 1986, when animals and farming were all that occupied my mind - with the odd bit of baking every now and again!

5 comments:

brenda said...

Such a beautiful post Nessa. I enjoyed reading it over breakfast ! I was raised a townie but loved going to visit my cousins who had a farm. My cousin had a special pet lamb, called lambin. Oh how we spoiled that lamb. The recipe looks great. There is nothing better than picking up a lamb chop and going for it. The pictures are lovely and great to have. This post brought back many happy memories for me this morning.

Nessa Robins said...

Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Brenda! I think if there are children on a farm, pet animals are inevitable! Glad you enjoyed the post :)

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I love spring lamb and the smell that wafts through the house while its cooking.Lemon and rosemary being a favorite. I really enjoyed this post and the photos of you when you were little.

Imen said...

Lovely post Nessa and the shots of you at the end are so precious!!!!!! I loved learning more about you in this post...PLUS the lamb recipe looks and sounds divine! Imen xx

Nessa Robins said...

Thank yo so much for your lovely comments!
I just stumbled upon them, Imen, and thought they would suit this post :)

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