I overheard my daughter talking to her friends back home in Washington state and when she was asked what it was like living in the Willamette Valley she replied, “well, there are sheep, sheep, farms, cows and more sheep.”
Her description made me laugh because only my teenager could describe this diverse and lush valley by the animals that dot the landscape.
Most of our little towns are filled to the brim with farmer’s markets, a brewhouse or local pub on every street corner, James Beard award winning chef’s (yes, even here in the valley), vineyards, wineries and the most emerald green rolling hills mixed with the occasional forest.
We’re flanked by the Pacific Cascade range to the west and the Cascades Mountains to the east.
I adore my drive to the market because inevitably, I’ll see pastures filled with sheep and lamb, and at least one very stern faced lama working as the guard dog.
Northwest pasture raised lamb has been gaining popularity recently and it’s one of the most abundant meats found in my local markets and co-ops. Raised on the lush green pastures in the valley, without grains and free of antibiotics, no growth hormones, additives or preservatives, the lamb from the valley is typically lower in fat and an excellent source of iron and vitamin B-12. I’m a huge fan of most of our local lamb producers like Anderson Ranch, SuDan Farm and Cattail Creek Farms; raising lamb sustainably and responsibly.
This gorgeous Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb chop recipe was originally created for one of my favorite clients, Home By Design Magazine’s spring issue.
Of course, I chose the most delicious cut of lamb for this recipe, the lamb chop. Lamb chops are typically well marbled with fat and when they are pan seared, they remain juicy and flavorful. All you need are fresh herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and these chops can be done in 15 minutes or less. I adore these Rosemary Garlic Crusted Lamb Chops paired with a balsamic reduction and often in the spring, I’ll serve them with a minted pea pesto that is plate licking good. I’ll post that recipe soon!
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,
- 8 single rib lamb chops (2 per person)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 -2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
- 1 cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish
In a small bowl combine the rosemary and garlic.
In a small pan heat the balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Let the vinegar come to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. This should take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your pan. Once the liquid has been reduced, whisk in the honey and set aside. If the reduction becomes too thick when cooled, gently re-heat for a more liquid consistency.
Place the lamb chops on a large cutting board or a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush each lamb chop with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then rub the rosemary garlic onto each side of each lamb chop.
Cover the lamb chops with a sheet of plastic wrap and give each chop a little pound with either a meat mallet or the palm of your hand. This is so the rosemary garlic mixture will nicely stick to the lamb chop. Remove the plastic before cooking. This step can be done the night before and chops held in refrigerator until ready to cook.
Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chops. You may need to pan sear the chops in batches.
After adding the chops to the pan turn the heat down to medium. Brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side should give you medium to medium rare. Transfer the chops to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Let them rest 5 minutes before serving.
Drizzle the Balsamic Reduction on each plate or a platter and then top with two rib chops per person. Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley.