Recently, I was given some lamb loin chops, which was very exciting, because I love lamb! They were imported from Argentina, so of course, I thought of chimichurri, a beloved Argentinian condiment, to go with the loin chops.
Chimichurri is a sauce made of parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and chili flakes. It’s used to baste meat, and also as an accompaniment when eating grilled meats. The first time I had chimichurri was actually in Argentina. My sister and I ate at quite a few parrillas – Argentinian steakhouses – in Buenos Aires, and I remember there was always a bowl of chimichurri at our table.
I used this authentic chimichurri recipe from Cafe Delites, and it was amazing! I didn’t have any red wine vinegar, so I substituted with lemon juice. Other than that, I didn’t make any changes. I spooned some of the chimichurri onto the lamb while they were cooking, and then enjoyed the cooked loin chops with plenty of chimichurri! It was so good!! The sauce is tangy, ever so slightly spicy and garlicky. It’s the perfect accompaniment because It’s such a refreshing contrast to the rich and savoury meat.
I made a side of some plain steamed cauliflower and drizzled some chimichurri over it, which was also really delicious! I’m thinking chimichurri could work really well as a salad dressing!
The lamb chops themselves don’t need much preparation – just a bit of salt and pepper. I pan fried them in ghee, which has a higher smoke point than butter. But you could also just use unsalted butter or olive oil.
LAMB LOIN CHOPS WITH CHIMICHURRI (Serves 5)
10 lamb loin chops
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (can substitute with lemon juice)
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
3-4 cloves garlic , finely chopped or minced
2 small red chilis, deseeded and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 level teaspoon coarse salt
pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1. Make the chimichurri first by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside to allow the flavours to infuse into the oil (ideally, let it sit for more than 2 hours, if time allows).
2. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the lamb chops. Let them sit on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Heat ghee in a large cast iron or stainless steel pan on medium high heat. When hot, add in lamb chops (cook only 4 or 5 at a time).
4. Cook for about 3 minutes, until browned, then turn over and cook for another 3 minutes.
5. Turn the chops to sear their sides, especially the fatty strip.
6. Flip the lamb chops back on their meaty sides, lower the heat and continue cooking until done to your liking.
7. Remove lamb chops to a plate, cover and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Note: Lamb is best eaten rare or medium-rare. When done, the internal temperature of lamb chops should be 120F/49C (rare), 125F/52C (medium rare), 130F/54C (medium) and 145F/63C (well done).