Whilst I love cooking, I am more often than not looking for something quick and easy. The labour-intensive likes of lasagna, full roast dinners or the like is not something I make very often, although when I have the time to I do like pottering around in the kitchen, taking my time with each element.
This dish is a typical happy medium for me. Full of flavour, easy to make, quick to put together and highly adaptable. It is more an idea of a meal, than a recipe. I used lamb chops because I found some nice ones in the shop, added sweet potatoes to match the savouriness of the chops, and a load of roasted greens to contrast on texture and because, frankly, they are delicious.
Feel free to substitute..everything really, but the below made for a darn tasty meal with minimal effort.
2-4 lamb chops, depending on size and appetite!
1 tsp dried mint
3-4 small sweet potatoes (or 2 big ones)
A mix of vegetables, I used kale, broccoli and cherry tomatoes – as much as you’d like.
1 dl water
Method: Put the grill element in your oven at high ( 200-250 degrees) and place a tray just above the middle.
Pat the lamb chops dry with a paper towel. Rub in mint, salt and pepper, and leave to marinate whilst you do the rest.
Prepare a baking tray – coat thinly and evenly with some olive oil, and arrange the vegetables on top. Make sure they are even sized. I put the kale at the bottom and arranged the broccoli on top, to stop the kale from crisping up too much. Put the tomatoes in and around the broccoli. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place in oven.
Fill up your kettle, and boil. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into even sized small chunks (approx. 2cm cubes). When the kettle boils, pour water into a pan, add the sweet potato, and boil until tender (ie. is easily pierced with a fork or a knife). Drain, but save around 2 dl/ scant half a pint of the cooking water – I used this to make a sauce, and also to loosen the mash. Add around one tablespoon of butter to the potatoes, along with some freshly ground pepper. Put aside to let the butter melt.
Put a frying pan on high heat, and melt some butter. When the pan is really hot, put in your lamb chops. Fry for around 3 minutes each side. I like my lamb slightly pink – cook it to your preference. Whilst the chops are frying, mash your potatoes with the butter. Add some of the cooking water if you think it is too thick.
Finally, remove the veg from the oven, check that they are done to your liking. Remove the lamb chops from the pan, and pour in 1 dl of the cooking water of the potatoes, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and a few good churns of salt and pepper. Using a spatula, scrape up all the bits of meat and fat that have stuck to the pan, and let simmer for 3 minutes. Taste it – you might have to adjust the seasoning. I like it fairly simple – just enough to intensify the meat flavour and to go with the veg and the mash.
Arrange a dollop of mash and a generous helping of veg on each plate, and finish with the lamb chops and the sauce.
Don’t let ingredients stop you – use the same method for pork chops, using white potatoes, and substituting the veg for cauliflower, onion and apple sprinkled generously with cumin (may sound strange, but is an amazing accompaniment to pork).
PS – got a sweet treat coming up next – often referred to as..’the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten’.