Saturday, November 22, 2008

Five-Spice Lamb with Spinach

Tonight, I was looking for a lamb recipe that didn't require any marination, as it was just 40 minutes until dinner time. I found this recipe in my Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2007. Despite the fact that we didn't have any spinach, it sounded great. And, without the spinach, it was done in less than 30 minutes!

It went well with the acorn squash I had the foresight to throw in the oven earlier, and the "baked" potatoes we tossed in the microwave. The spinach sounds excellent, so one day when this meal is actually a plan, we will have that as well.

The lamb is tasty, and I still can't believe how fast and easy it was. Our lamb chops are small, so I only cooked them about 5 minutes on a side, and they were perfectly done. I also halved the cayenne pepper because of the boys, and just sprinkled the spices on both sides of the lamb instead of "coating" (I had some of the spice mix leftover). It was just about right: spicy enough for us, not too spicy for them. It's a delicate balance!

(The flash on my camera does nasty things to lamb, and it's dark outside, so this is the best I can do for the moment. Trust me, it tastes much better than it looks!)

Five-Spice Lamb with Spinach
Total: 30 minutes
4 servings
Wine pairing: Round, deep-flavored Syrah

1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
Eight 8-ounce lamb loin chops
Salt (I use kosher)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound clean bagged spinach, tough ends discarded

1. In a small bowl, mix the spices. Season the lamb with salt; drizzle with olive oil. Coat both sides of the chops with the spices.

2. In a very large skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the chops and cook over moderate heat until browned and medium rare, 7 minutes per side.

3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until softened and golden. Add handfuls of the spinach to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring and adding more spinach after each batch wilts. Season with salt, mound on plates and serve with the lamb.

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