Last month I asked you on Facebook and Twitter what you wanted me to cook for Valentine’s Day. It was a 50/50 split between lamb chops and scallops. I picked Seared Scallops on Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta and although it was fabulous the 5o% of you who wanted lamb let me have it! Hey, I’ve got no problems with cooking two Valentine’s Day meals and neither was The Husband! See, we both have jobs in the food industry and since most holidays revolve around food we always have to celebrate before the actual holiday. No worries though, that just means we have a reason to celebrate early!
As promised, here is the recipe for Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with Cherry Port Sauce served over Goat Cheese Polenta. It’s a simple to make dish but involves effort. Planing ahead is ideal but not necessary and making this meal for two together is an absolute must. So, put the kids (if you have any) to bed early, grab a bottle of wine, turn on some music, and have yourself a date night.
Succulent pistachio crusted lamb served over tangy goat cheese polenta and drizzled with a deep sweet cherry port sauce is a beautiful and poetic flavor combination perfect for a special night. Move over Barry White.
We’re going to start by combining port and cherries in a sauce pot and simmering until it reduces into a thickened sauce.You can tell it’s ready when the sauce can coat a spoon.
While that’s going, combine water and cornmeal in a large pot, bring to a boil, and whisk until your arm feels like it’s about to fall off. This will take 15 minutes so while one arm is whisking the other can be occupied with a glass of wine, if desired. At least that’s how I do it.
Once the polenta and sauce are finished, set them aside and get started on the lamb by chopping up the pistachios.
Next, coat the lamb chops with pistachios and set in the oven for a quick roast.
Finally, plate, serve, and indulge. We served this with an arugula spinach salad with lemon vinaigrette, and roasted delicata squash. Pairs well with, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux, and Zinfandel. Cheers!
Succulent pistachio crusted lamb served over tangy goat cheese polenta and drizzled with a deep sweet cherry port sauce is a beautiful and poetic flavor combination perfect for a special night.
For the cherry port sauce
- 1 cup Tawny Port
- 1 cup pitted cherries fresh or frozen, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the goat cheese polenta
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces goat cheese
For the lamb chops
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 6 lamb rib chops, Frenched
- Salt and Pepper
- In a sauce pot over high heat, combine port, cherries, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by 3/4 and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Cover and set aside until needed.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, bring water to a boil. Once boiling slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking. Reduce heat to medium and continually whisk for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and add olive oil and goat cheese; stir. Taste and add any additional salt if necessary. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest setting, and set aside until needed.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios, garlic, and rosemary until finely chopped. You can also do this by hand with a knife. Poor pistachio mixture onto a plate.
- Season each lamb chop with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place a lamb chop into the chopped pistachios and firmly press to coat. Once the lamb chop is evenly covered, place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining lamb chops.
- Place the chops in the oven and roast for 6 minutes, flip, and continue to roast for an additional 6 minutes for medium-rare (7 minutes a side for medium). Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes.
- If needed, reheat the sauce over low heat, add a spoonful of port if the sauce has become too thick while resting. To plate, spoon about 1/2 cup of the polenta on a plate, top with two or three lamb chops, and spoon sauce over. Serve.
by Meredith Steele
Frenched lamb rib chops are simply the cuts of meat from the rib rack that has been cleaned of any fat exposing a clean bone. This can be done by any butcher to save you time. Just asked for Frenched lamb rib chops. Also, you can substitute 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese for the goat cheese in the polenta if you're not a goat cheese fan but I strongly suggest to keep it - it's delicious.