Sep 7, 2009

Chop Chop !

Long weekend :) What that translates to--in terms of the smile--is loads of time to experiment in a place other people call kitchen. Okay, granted I am not a meat person. But I wanted, for a long time now, to indulge in some harmless cooking in that department. And with R around, yay for me. And that brings me to these chops. Lamb shoulder chops.
Apparently north African countries like Ethiopia and Morocco use spice (what I read from travel blogs, guide books and  novels) dominated by coriander and cumin--both of which I am well conversant with. Given that Indian cuisine also uses both. But the way these are used in different countries is what renders the big difference in taste e.g in India you would often fry the spices directly in oil and then add ingredients after that. In Morocco, you actually marinate the ingredients in 'rubs' made of these spices and fry them together in oil. In Turkey, again you add the spices after the ingredients are somewhat cooked through. The result is that the same spices, exude different type of flavors which hit the palate at different places and time. And you have at least a few dozen types of cuisines from the same spices :) awesome.
This one may look inspired ..but not something I can remember off hand. But definitely will be Rachel Ray. Love you lady!

Ingredients:

3 meat chops. You can use any variety of lamb or pork chops. I used lamb shoulder. They were the ones on sale
3 cloves of garlic.
2 tsp of olive oil. You cab use regular oil too.
1.5 tbsf cumin
1 tbsf paprika ( any variety is good..but I like to use sweet paprika)
Half a tbsf cayenne pepper.
1 tbsf turmeric
Salt and black pepper to taste

And its really simple to do this one

Slice up one clove of garlic into two. Rub the cut surface of the garlic clove on all sides of each of the chops. This imparts a a garlic flavor deep into each chop. Chop up the remaining two cloves. You can always pass on this one. The rubbing of garlic--thats the trick.
Mix up all the other dry ingredients into a consistent 'rub'. Coat the chops evenly on all sides. You should not be able to see the meat surface.

I learnt  the use of a new utensil while making this. Cast Iron Skillet. This is just too good. The cast iron gives off some iron into the food and that adds an extra layer of 'exotic' flavor to the food. And before you are 'OMG--is it harmful'? NO! IT IS NOT. You can always do with a bit of Iron. Especially us ladies. We need more of that..and nothing is really more :). Okay back to business

Heat up olive oil in a skillet--Iron is better but non-essential--When the oil is hot (if you are using Iron skillet it will heat up very quickly. So keep an eye out. You don't want to burn the oil). Very carefully place each chop in it and let cook on one side for 5-6 minutes. Guys do not try to move it. Let it heat through. Turn once after 5-6 minutes and cook for another 5-6 minutes. After you trurn the chops, you can add the minced garlic, if you wish for an extra garlicky taste, which is how I like it.
Take the chops  off the skillet and garnish with Lemon wedges. Goes very well with Red wine. Or so I am told :)

Happy eating and healthy living

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