Pistachio Spiced Lamb Chops with Raita

With the recent Passover and Easter holidays, amid thoughts of chocolate eggs, jelly beans, matzo, and more traditional Polish Easter fare (cold cuts, sausages, a variety of cold salads), I found myself most often thinking about some spicy, pistachio-crusted lamb chops that I recently made. I had a hard time figuring out why—though the dish was delicious, the price of the chops meant it wasn’t a great option for a large feast—and eventually determined that this must have been because of the oft referenced Paschal Lamb.

Lamb Chop Perfection

I did a quick Wikipedia search on the Paschal Lamb, and I’ll spare you the somewhat gruesome reference. The mind, it goes to strange places. Suffice it to say, these lamb chops are so delicious, they’re thought-provoking, and no firstborns were slain in the making of this meal.

A Balanced Celebratory Meal

I actually made these lamb chops for a birthday dinner, and I’ll let the bones, which were left sucked dry and meatless, serve as evidence of the meal’s raging success. Stick to the suggested times for cooking the meat, and you can’t go wrong. I had never made lamb before, and spent most of my time cooking worried that this meal would be a complete flop, but the searing and baking method served me well. If you have any small, special occasions coming up, may I suggest you make these and bask in the site of your guests working hard to get at every last piece of this meal. It does great things for the ego.

All That Remained

Pistachio Lamb Chops and Raita

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Pistachio Spiced Lamb Chops:

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted

1 teaspoons garam masala (you can also use chaat masala)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

6 small lamb chops (3 to 4 ounces each)

salt and pepper, for seasoning

olive oil, for cooking

Meat of Champions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the pistachios and spices in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground and combined.

Pistachios

Salt and pepper the lamb chops generously, and let them sit for 15 minutes before cooking. Pour a generous layer of olive oil on a pan over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb chops for 2 minutes per side on the pan. If the pan begins to smoke, lower the heat.

Chopped Lamb

Searing to Perfection

Dip the lamb chops in the pistachio mixture, coating all sides. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Paschal Lamb

Raita:

1 cup plain yogurt (don’t use reduced fat!)

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced

1/3 cup English cucumber, minced (other varieties of cucumber will do as well)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon sugar

Cukes and Mint

Combine all ingredients. Voila!

Raita

Serve the lamb chops with the raita. Enjoy the spicy and cool combination!

Oven Lamb
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