Friday, January 18, 2013

Guinness-Glazed Lamb Chops

I have a lot of thoughts about this lamb dish, but I'm not sure exactly how to phrase them, while still being fair to the recipe.  Most importantly, I think the problems with this recipe were in large part caused by the cooking method we used.  The gas broiler on our oven only has one setting (kill) so we were afraid to try to broil the lamb chops and end up with little lumps of lamb coal instead of lightly charred lamb chops.  So we tried to sear them up in our cast iron.  Only they fit a little too snugly so we basically sauteed them instead of searing them.  And most of the glaze ended up stuck to the pan, rather than to the lamb.  If I had my way in the future (and if my broiler situation were a little different), I would broil the chops to caramelize the glaze and char it up a little.  Or I would grill them.  The smoky flavor either of those options would impart would do a lot to give the lamb chops more depth of flavor and provide a nice complimentary flavor to the glaze itself.  Because if I am being honest, the glaze really was interesting - a little funky, a little sweet and floral - and I think it would have been very nice if it had only stuck to the lamb itself.  I'm not sure that it had the potential to be my favorite lamb glaze out there, but I liked it because it was different.  Too often with lamb you end up with one of two flavor combinations - mint or herbs.  And this was a large departure from either of those typical combos.  But the glaze didn't stick to the lamb chops at all.  The very few pockets of glaze that did stick would have benefited from some char because they were still slightly wet and runny.  And drizzling the lamb chops after they were done cooking just resulted in the glaze continuing to slide right off. 

So I guess the best thing to do here is to post the recipe as written (noting that we used a different beer instead of the Guinness and used lamb loin chops instead of rib chops), rather than posting the recipe as we made it.  The only real difference between the actual recipe and our modification is the cooking method and I would have to give Gourmet the benefit of the doubt and assume that their broiler worked better than our cast iron...

Recipe after the jump!

Guinness-Glazed Lamb Chops
Gourmet Live
March 2011

2 cups (16 ounces) Guinness stout (we used Rogue Chocolate Stout, which added a nice chocolatey-coffeey flavor)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
16 rib lamb chops (buy separately or buy two 8–rib racks of lamb and cut them yourself into individual chops) (we used lamb loin chops, which already come in individual chops)

Bring stout, sugar, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 2–quart nonreactive saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then continue boiling (keep an eye on it and reduce heat to keep it from boiling over) until glaze is syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup, 20 to 30 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids.

Preheat broiler.

Pat chops dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Divide glaze between 2 small bowls and set 1 aside for use later. Brush both sides of chops with glaze (from remaining bowl) and arrange on rack of a broiler pan.

Broil 5 inches from heat, 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. (Don't hesitate to cut and peek to check on the doneness of the meat.)

Transfer chops to a platter and drizzle with reserved glaze.

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