In this loin chop recipe, bold Middle Eastern flavors highlight the juicy, tender lamb.
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 mins
12 each American lamb loin chops
2 tablespoons Ras al Hanout (a Moroccan spice blend available at specialty markets)
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1½ teaspoons cumin seed
1 tablespoon Aleppo chili powder
1½ teaspoons pimentón (smoked paprika)
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggplant
½ cup tahini (available in the international section of the grocery store)
2 lemons, juiced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt, to taste
1 bunch watercress, washed, for serving
11. For the lamb: In a large bowl, combine the Ras al Hanout, garlic, salt, and two tablespoons olive oil. Add the lamb chops and coat well. Cover the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the remaining elements of the dish.
22. For the harissa: In a dry pan (no oil) over medium heat, toast the whole spices until aromatic, watching to be sure they don’t burn. In a spice mill or coffee grinder, grind the toasted spices to a fine powder.
33. Place the pimentón, cayenne, salt, garlic, red peppers, lemon juice, and olive oil along with the toasted spices in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, adjust the consistency with a little bit of water. Adjust the seasoning with salt, lemon juice, and cayenne to taste.
44. For the Eggplant Puree: Pierce the eggplants with a fork several times all over. Char the eggplants directly over a hot charcoal fire or under a broiler set to high, turning them several times, until the flesh is very soft and they have collapsed, about 20 minutes. Place them on a plate and allow to cool enough to handle.
55. When cool, hold the eggplants by the stem and peel off the outer skin. Cut the flesh from the stem and transfer it to a bowl. Add the tahini and lemon and crush the garlic into the bowl with a garlic press. Add a large pinch of salt and mix well with a fork. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice to taste.
66. To finish the lamb: Heat a grill on high or a griddle pan on the stove on high heat. Grill over a hot charcoal fire or on the griddle pan to your desired degree of doneness. Remove from the heat and allow the lamb to rest for 2 to 3 minutes while preparing the plates.
77. To serve: Spoon a portion of the harissa and the eggplant puree onto each plate, add the grilled lamb chops, and top with the watercress.
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