Juicy, meaty lamb chops sizzled in olive oil and served alongside asparagus festooned with bacon, leeks, pine nuts and bright citrus zest; the perfect dish for an elegant dinner or the star of your Easter or Passover table.
Lamb is a traditional springtime food and the most popular symbol of Easter around the world. Christians refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”, thus lamb’s symbolic role at the Easter table. Lamb has also been traditional spring fare in the Middle East since Biblical times. It is appropriate to serve lamb for Passover, but rules govern the preparation, and are subject to various interpretations, some of which forbid eating, specifically, roasted lamb.
Vital to the Wow factor of any dish, is the quality of the ingredients, so it makes sense to begin with premium cuts of meat befitting the starring role of this dish, whether it is being served as a romantic dinner for two, as a family meal, or the centerpiece for your Easter or Passover celebrations.
Say premium quality meats and The Butchery, with locations in Costa Mesa, Brea and Crystal Cove (Newport Coast), comes immediately to mind. All three stores offer a large variety of high quality meats, artisan cheeses, craft beer and wine and gourmet grocery items that make it easy for you to put together an impressive dinner, barbecue, or special celebration with one-stop shopping convenience.
The Butchery features choice and prime cuts of meat from top quality purveyors such as family-owned and operated Double R Ranch, part of Snake River Farms, pork cuts from Salmon Creek, and both Colorado and New Zealand lamb. You’ll also find excellent service and traditionally trained butchers who can aid you in selecting the right cut of meat and expertly trim rib racks and roasts, cut racks into rib portions, and offer cooking tips, if you like.
Then there’s the Big City Reds hot dogs, where one bite will change your idea of hot dogs forever. There’s a reason most NFL stadiums and major league ballparks choose Big City Reds hot dogs – they are made of 100% U.S. beef in small batches and naturally wood smoked to achieve their incomparable flavor and texture. They also don’t include the yucky ingredients found in other brands like: artificial flavors, MSG, Sorbitol, animal by-products, hydrolyzed soy, wheat, or vegetable protein.
Make dinner and entertaining easy with The Butchery’s popular, in-house marinated Steak Tips in Cajun, Maple Bourbon, Yakitori and Garlic Pepper flavor profiles. Add trimmed, vacuum packed, vegetables and potatoes with herbs and spices added: Buffalo or Garlic Butter corn, Cilantro-Lime asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Garlic Pepper red potatoes, and they’ve done the prep work for you – all you have to do is fire up the grill!
I lapsed into cheese nirvana when I spied Cypress Grove nestled among the wheels of artisan cheese – have you experienced Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog, their award-winning soft-ripened goat cheese, or Midnight Moon, a goats milk Gouda? If not, you absolutely must! The Butchery’s cheese cases are filled with an extensive variety of cheeses from rich, soft-ripened Brie to aged, sharp Cheddars.
Now, let’s get on with this fabulous Springtime dinner of juicy Colorado Lamb Loin Chops and Chimichurri Sauce with insanely Addictive Asparagus. When buying lamb chops, most people think only of the rib chop, but you get more bang for your buck with the meatier loin chop.
- 4-6 lamb loin chops, ¾ inch thickness
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon thyme, mint or rosemary
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- For the asparagus:
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into ⅜ inch to ¼ inch dice*
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced diagonally into 2 inch pieces
- 1¼ cups leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1-2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- For the Chimichurri Sauce:
- ¾ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup packed fresh Italian flat leaf parsley- chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 clove of fresh garlic-minced
- Prepare chimichurri sauce: Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well to blend. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Prepare the asparagus: In a large non-stick pan, sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leek and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.
- For the lamb chops: Season the lamb with salt* and pepper and sprinkle lightly with thyme. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb chops and cook over moderately high heat until the chops are browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the chop sand cook until the chops are browned, another 2-3 minutes longer for medium doneness.Transfer the chops to individual plates or, for family style, arrange around the asparagus on a platter. Drizzle with Chimichurri sauce.
* Optional - may be omitted for very low sodium diets.
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Costa Mesa, Brea, and Newport Coast
Visit The Butchery website for more information.
Disclosure: I received my choice of quality meats for purposes of recipe development on a visit to The Butchery’s new location in Crystal Cove Promenade. All opinions are my own.