Once I was challenged to make Lamb Chops for my husband's daughter. It was a difficult challenge because I didn't feel I knew how to cook lamb loin chops. I needed an easy recipe to cook lamb chops. But what came out of the whole experience has been a newfound love for this delicious meat. Almost sweet in flavor with a hint of gamines. If you haven't tried Lamb yet, here is a quick and easy recipe.
Lamb is quite a popular meat in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures. Lamb is typically seasoned with curries, cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. I am giving it my Puerto Rican twist with a light layer of Adobo.
Similarly to this recipe, I cook other cuts of meats, like my post on pork chops. The pork chops recipe and this Lamb recipe pairs well with my zucchini en escabeche or it's equally delicious guineos en escabeche for a summer cookout meal.
Other than the seasoning, the only other ingredient is the Lamb Loin Chops. Again, make sure you buy from a reputable purveyor and organic as possible.
- Salt (I used pink Himalayan salt, if you use table salt, use 1 teaspoon to a pinch)
- Fresh ground pepper (already ground is as good)
- Spanish paprika
- Garlic powder
- Dried oregano
- Fresh rosemary sprigs, optional
- Lamb loin chops
See the recipe card for quantities.
This recipe is easy and takes very little time. Keep in mind what kind of side will be served with this dish. If it is a side dish that can take up to 30 minutes to cook, season the lamb chops first and set them aside, and continue by starting to cook your side. The lamb chops will begin to cook towards the end, close to the side finishing cooking. If you need your lamb well done, preheat the oven to roast at 350℉.
- Combine all spices into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Lightly sprinkle the chops with olive oil, then sprinkle seasoning onto the lambs. You almost want to create a crust. Instead, let the lamb chops rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat a frying pan or skillet on the stove. You want it hot but not smoking for about 3-4 minutes. Add a squirt of olive oil, enough to coat the pan, and swirl the pan to cover with oil. Option to use a ghee and olive oil mixture to enhance the flavor.
- Place each lamb chop one at a time onto the pan.
5. After 2 to 3 minutes flip the lamb chops
Hint: Here is the hardest part of the process. DO NOT TOUCH THE CHOPS FOR THE NEXT TWO TO THREE MINUTES!!! If you want that beautiful crispy sear, you MUST let it cook.
A Few More Tips:
- You want to look for the opaque/whitish color developing at the contact spot in the meat. The opaqueness shows how much of the flesh has been cooked from where the meat touches the pan. There is not enough sear if there is a minimal "white" line.
- Every time you move the meat, you change the temperature of the meat and the pan. You want the pan as hot as possible because adding the meat (even at room temperature) will cool the pan. Letting the meat sear undisturbed allows the pan time to heat up so that when you flip the cut, the pan will be as hot as when you first started.
Finishing the Lamb Chops
For Rare or Medium Rare
I like my meats between rare to medium-rare. I find medium too done for me, but still enjoyable. After two or three minutes of the lamb chops cooking on the pan, flip them to the raw side and wait for two to three minutes. At this point, feel for doneness. Bouncy meat means it is still rare. I would flip one more time to darken my last sear, which allows for deeper doneness, which then I will remove from the burner and set aside, still in the pan. I use cast iron, so the heat is well retained in the pan.
For Medium or Medium-Well
Lower the pan's heat and continue searing in about 2 to 3 minutes increments two more times. Try searing the sides for 2 minutes for each. Set the pan aside to rest before serving.
For Well done
Once you have flipped the chop the first time, create the sear on the raw side of the chop. Next, place the pan with the chop in the oven and roast for five to 10 minutes. For well done, you are looking at very little bounciness of the meat.
My preferred method of cooking lamb chops is pan-seared. Here are a few different ways to enjoy lamb chops:
- Grilling - Follow the exact method listed above except using the grill. No need for circular motions when placing the grill, but do make sure the grill is well oiled.
- Roasting - Another way to impart great flavor is to roast the chops with rosemary and garlic.
A dry rub is by far my favorite. I am Puerto Rican, and I love my adobo, especially the one I make myself. It has the right amount of my favorite flavors already in them. I sprinkle my adobo (adobo means seasoning so that it could be a combination of many different herbs and spices) and let the chops rest for 30 minutes to an hour. Lamb is meat highly consumed in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Here are a few other ideas to try the next time you make lamb.
Curry, Tumeric, Cumin, Corriander, and even Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice will give Lamb a tremendous flavor. Don't forget your garlic!
- Middle Eastern - add chili pepper flakes, curry, tumeric, cumin, corriander, and even cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to infuse the flavors of the far east.
- Greek twist- use my adobo paste recipe, add lemon juice, parsley and mint
- BBQ - Why not?! A dash of chili powder, brown sugar, cumin (I love cumin, lol) paprika, garlic, salt and pepper, can make this chops a guest favorite on your next cookout.
I use cast iron skillets all the time for EVERYTHING. They retain heat well, they are durable and easy to maintain. A well-season skillet will be as efficient as any Teflon pan, plus a bit healthier and economical. Once Teflon gets scratched, it should be discarded, which means you will go through pans quicker than if you had a cast-iron skillet. Cast iron is a pan that will last generations if well taken care of. My favorite brand is Lodge.
Keep in mind that if using cast iron, the pan retains heat, so stopping the cooking when your food is undercooked is a wise decision if you are leaving the product in the pan like I am with my rare/medium-rare chops. The other option is to remove the product and let it rest on a plate or cutting board.
Using Stainless Steel
There is a variety of different quality stainless steel pans out there, from heavy bottom pans to extremely light, highly conductive pans. I have both pans as well. If I were to use my reinforced bottom pans, All-Clad or Calphalon (I have an All-Clad Emeril Lagasse set from back in the day), I almost treat them like my cast iron, but they do not hold the heat as long. In the cheap stainless steel pan that I do own (I rarely use it, because it is either too hot or too cold), I would have to monitor the heat during cooking to adjust to the metal overheating and cooling faster than the product is cooking.
Stay consistent. Observe your product as you are cooking. Listen for the high sizzle at the beginning of the searing process, and trust your instincts.
Here are a few tips on how to cook these chops in a safe manner.
- I mentioned to season and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you are not cooking the chops immediately, season and refrigerate immediately. When you are ready to cook them remove them from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 130-135 °F (54-57 °C), for rare. 135-145℉ (57-63℃) for medium, 145-155℉ (63-68℃) for medium-well, 155℉ and up (68℃) for well-done.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
Pan-Seared Lamb Loin Chops
- Two teaspoons of salt I used pink Himalayan salt, if you use table salt, use 1 teaspoon to a pinch
- A teaspoon of fresh ground pepper already ground is as good
- One teaspoon of cumin
- A teaspoon of coriander
- One teaspoon of Spanish paprika
- One Tablespoon of garlic powder
- Two teaspoons of dried oregano
- Fresh rosemary sprigs optional
- Preheat the oven to roast at 350℉ if you like your lamb chops well-done.
- Mix seasoning ingredients.
- Drizzle a small amount of oil onto the chops, followed by a generous amount of seasoning.
- Heat a skillet or saute pan. You want it hot but not smoking.
- Drizzle a small amount of oil into the pan and swirl the pan to coat with oil.
- Place each lamb chop onto the pan and allow to cook (without touching it) for about three to four minutes.
- Turn the chops to the raw side and cook for another three to four minutes. Check for doneness.
- If the sear side needs more sear, turn the chops one more time and cook for another minute or two.
- For rare: remove from pan and set aside to let rest.
- For medium-rare: after the second turn to the raw side, turn them a third time after 3 minutes and set aside.
- For medium/medium-well: after turning the chops to the raw side, place the entire pan in the oven and cook there for five to ten minutes.
- For well-done: do as the above instructions but leave them in the oven from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Have a Hot Pan: You may invest in a fancy surface thermometer, but your hands accurately tell you how hot your pan is without the expense. Be comfortable placing your hand hovering over the pan cooking surface to gauge the heat of the pan before adding oil, and feel for the heat it radiates. Please do not touch the pan itself. Another way of telling is the oil. The oil will ripple as it coats the bottom of the pan. You want the pan hot but not smokey. If the pan starts to smoke, set it aside, wait for it to cool, and start again.
- Do Not Touch It!!! Once the meat goes into the pan, please do not touch it. Allos the meat the cook for a few minutes. If the meat gives you resistance when moving it, let it go a bit longer. Look for an opaque line from where the meat touches the pan towards the center of the meat. Once it reaches about a quarter, flip the meat.