One goal at the dawn of the new year is to bring new and sometimes unexpected flavors into the kitchen. Perfunctory meals are dreary. Cooking one small element of life that is under my control. With that power I choose to make meals that bring silence to the dinner table.
Lamb chops are no revolutionary dinner choice. They conjure up images of crown roasts crusted in dijon mustard and herbs; served along side an upright mint jelly. For a Tuesday night’s dinner they did seem a bit exotic.
There are a few keys to executing an exceptional weekday meal. First, prep the meal before hand. Take a few minutes in the morning to marinate your protein, chop your veg, get out the pan(s) you will need. In short get ready. Second, cook more over the weekend or on quieter nights to have meals at the ready. By cooking when time is not of the essence the whole process is more relaxed. Creativity can flourish more in this environment. Third, choose weekday meals that can be prepped and cooked in no time.
The lamb chops seem like an unlikely candidate for scenario three. When the roast is broken down into individual chops the cooking time is reduced exponentially. It really does not take any longer to roast a sausage.
Potatoes and Delicata squash were chopped into thick wedges. They were then seasoned, tossed with olive oil, and place in the oven for a 25 minute roast. They are done once knife tender.
In the last few minutes of cooking the chops were seared in the cast iron pan. They were finished in the oven and allowed to rest for a few minutes on the stove top before deglazing.
The chop dinner went down a treat. The squash brought a bit of color and sweetness to the table. The potatoes provided an anchor of familiarity.
The last glasses of the 2011 Porta di Vertine “Sassi Chiusi” paired well. The wine’s chalky tannins had relaxed into their flow allowing the nuanced fruit flavors of plum, cherry, and cassis to come forward.