A promise was made to my boyfriend to never cook lamb chops again because of his ethical beliefs against eating red meat. Out of respect, my compromise is eating lamb chops when dining with girlfriends. It’s an expensive dish on most menus, but the price is pretty fair when cooking them at home. Recently, he started working on a major Broadway play. His rehearsals are on Sundays, our sit-down dinnertime. Out of all the promises and compromises we’ve made to each other, his good fortune is being celebrated by breaking the ‘no lamb chop in the house’ rule for my lonely Sunday dinners.
While the boyfriend is at work, this girlfriend is delightfully making dishes with ingredients he won’t eat (unless I trick him). Lamb chops are the only red meat I tolerate, but don’t mistake me as a fan of the “red meat causes cancer club.” Despite all the recent scary reports about red meat, the news seldom mentions when it’s grass-feed, from small farms and enjoyed sparely in a diet of mostly vegetables and whole grains, it’s a healthy ingredient. The media loves to sensationalize one-sided reports (Thanks, Ulla Kjarval of Goldilocks Finds Manhattan for sharing this story).
This ‘believe or not’ healthy Sunday meal is made with simple ingredients. Buying enough lamb chops to last for 2 days is half the price of an evening of dining with girlfriends. The lamb chops are marinated in rosemary and olive oil on Saturday evening. The next day, dinner starts with beets roasting to a tender sweetness. A creamy Artichoke Risotto is patiently made. The lamb chops are quickly seared and laid to rest; meanwhile beet greens are stir-fried in garlic. Pinot Noir is the evening wine of choice for this lonesome girl.
Some people don’t like to cook elaborate meals by themselves. To me it’s a chance to cook with ingredients my boyfriend doesn’t appreciate. These exquisite meals are my consolation for missing Sunday dinners with my boyfriend. I still try to offer him a good meal when he returns from work. After serving myself lamb chops, a fillet of cod is marinated for his dinner. When he’s close to returning home from work, it’s placed in the oven to roast. His side dish was a Date and Orange Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Artichoke Risotto (recipe below). Like my dish, his dinner is also made with love and respect. After all, I did break the ‘no lamb chops in the house’ rule.
Rosemary Lamb Chops with sauté Beet Greens, Roast Beets and Artichoke Risotto
To plate Rosemary Lamb Chops with sauté Beet Greens, Roast Beets and Artichoke Risotto. Recipes for each dish is below
1. Prepare and marinate the Seared Rosemary Lamb Chops overnight or a few hours before cooking.
2. Preheat and prepare beets as directed. Meanwhile clean the greens and set aside.
3. Prepare and cook the Artichoke Risotto as directed. Cover and keep warm when completed.
4. When the beets are done, start cooking the lamb chops as directed. Once done, place lamb chops aside and keep warm.
5. In another skillet (or use the same skillet as the lambs), quickly cook the greens as directed.
6. Place a generous spoonful of Artichoke Risotto on individual plates.
7. Using a spoon with holes, place beet greens over the risotto.
8. Top greens with 2 Rosemary Lamb Chops.
9. Place roast beetroots around the risotto, greens and lamp chops.
10. Drizzle with olive oil. Season the plate with sea salt and fresh black pepper.
Note: To keep food warm, wrap/cover food and place in a preheated 100°F oven.
Seared Rosemary Lamb Chops
2 to 3 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves; minced
1/2-cup olive oil; plus more as needed
A dash of red balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
The juice of one lemon
4 baby lamb chops; rinsed cleaned
1 tbsp. butter
1. In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the rosemary, garlic, 1/2 cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, fresh black pepper and lemon juice. Add the lamb chops and marinate for at least one hour to overnight.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops and sear each side for 2 minutes (medium-rare).
3. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with black pepper and sea salt.
4. Set aside and keep warm.
Roast Beets with Sauté Greens
1 bunch of beets with their greens
Olive oil; as need
1-garlic clove; paper-thin sliced
Sea salt & fresh black pepper
Balsamic vinegar; as needed
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Separate the beetroot from the stalk. Place the stalks with their greens aside.
3. Remove and discard both ends of the beetroot. Using a vegetable peeler, remove and discard the outer skin. Cut the beetroot into 1/2-inch chunks. Place beets over the foil lined baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic, sea salt and fresh black pepper.
4. Place the beets in the oven to roast for 45 min to 1 hour, or until soft. Occasionally toss the beetroot.
5. Meanwhile, as the beetroots are roasting, start prepping the beet greens. Using a pairing knife, remove the stalk and the stem from the greens. Rinse the greens several times to remove the grit (beet greens are very dirty. Add a little vinegar to the second to last rinse).
6. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir for 5 sec, but don’t burn it. Quickly add the greens. Season with salt and pepper. Cook greens until they’re just wilted (two to three minutes). Remove to a plate and keep warm.
7. When the beetroots are done. Turn off the oven and keep them warm.
2-cups chicken or vegetable stock (more for creamy and less for al dente risotto)
1-cup dry white wine
Olive oil; as needed
1 small onion; finely diced
2 to 3 garlic cloves; minced
(Optional) a pinch of crushed red pepper
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
1-cup uncooked Arborio rice
6 to 10 oz. artichoke hearts
1-cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; reserve more for garnish
1 tbsp. of butter
1. In a covered small saucepan, warm the chicken/vegetable stock and wine.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook for a few minutes or until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the garlic and stir for 5 seconds. Add the Arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes. Season with sea salt, fresh black pepper and crushed red pepper.
4. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and wine mix. Stir until the liquid evaporates. If necessary, adjust seasoning with fresh black pepper and/or sea salt. Repeat this step until all of the liquid has evaporated.
5. Add the artichokes and butter. Stir for an additional 2 minutes. If necessary, adjust seasoning with fresh black pepper and/or sea salt. Mix in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
6. Before serving, sprinkle a little more Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh black pepper.
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