When it comes to meat, lamb is like my soul mate. What else do you expect from a Greek girl? I come from a long line of expert spit-roasters, whose front yards doubled as lamb-roasting arenas for every conceivable occasion.
While I suspect that working a lamb on a roasting spit might come naturally to me—just like singing probably comes easily to Blue Ivy—I have absolutely no interest in finding out. Instead, I’ve always been content to let the restaurants (or my mother) do the lamb-cooking themselves. I just do the eating.
To tell the truth, I’d never even ventured to buy lamb at the supermarket before this week. While there were many times that I’d almost do it, I’d always end up being too afraid of failing to cook it well: What if I couldn’t even cook the very meat that my ancestors had mastered for generations?
Well, as you’ve probably inferred from the very existence of this post, I needn’t have worried. And neither should you, if you happen to be scared of cooking lamb for any reason at all. This recipe for pistachio-encrusted lamb turned out to be, hands-down, the best meal we ever made. Opa!
First off, the pistachio crust is an explosion of crispy, crunchy spice. The pistachio base makes for an incredible breadcrumb substitute that can be used on fish, chicken, pork, and beef, in addition to lamb.
In this case, it creates a nutty, earthy exterior to the perfectly seared and roasted lamb. By seasoning the lamb, letting it rest, searing it, and then roasting it, the meat is tenderized and imbued with an incredible amount of flavor for such a short span of time.
The mint yogurt offers a great balance of cool and spicy flavors to complement the lamb chops. It only takes a few minutes to make this delicious combination of spices, cucumber, mint, and yogurt, but it’s going to stay on my meal rotation for a long, long time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tell my mother that I’ve finally found my inner Greek cook.
- For chops:
- 6 small lamb chops
- ½ cup pistachios, shelled
- ½ Tbs. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. Creole seasoning (We use this mixture by Emeril Lagasse. It's worth making a batch and keeping it in your pantry. It's delicious and well-balanced!) If you don't have time to whip up this seasoning mix, then you can just use the following instead: ¼ tsp. onion powder, ¼ tsp. thyme, and a pinch of dried oregano.
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
- For yogurt:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (We like to use Chobani 0% fat.)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 Tbs. fresh mint leaves, chopped
- ½ an English cucumber, chopped
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of sugar (We like to use Truvia instead.)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for the spicy mint yogurt. Set aside.
- Combine pistachios and spices for lamb chops in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- Season lamb chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes before cooking. (This is a great time to have a glass of wine or send off your final e-mail of the night!)
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with olive oil.
- Once oil is hot, add the lamb chops. Take care not to crowd them. If you need to, cook the lamb chops in batches of 3 to prevent overcrowding.
- Sear each lamb chop for about 2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer seared chops to a baking sheet. Let cool for 2 minutes.
- Next, coat your lamb chops with the pistachio mixture. Hold each lamb chop by the bone end, rolling each side of the lamb chop in the mixture until thoroughly coated. Then place coated lamb chops back on the baking sheet.
- Roast chops in the oven for 5 minutes. The tops of the chops should be a light golden-brown, and the inside should be a beautiful dark pink medium-rare.
- Serve chops with the spicy mint yogurt, and enjoy!
How’d you like these lamb chops with spicy mint yogurt? Shoot us a message to let us know, and be sure to rate this recipe on your way out! Happy cooking!