Curry in a hurry

As I mentioned before, Laura is here this week, to visit and to learn. (If you’re interested, you can read her side of the story here.) Laura is a great baker, and habitually helps her family out in the kitchen, so she tends to have the basics down – she knows how to make a good salad dressing, knows how to cook a few vegetables, etc. (And she knows how to do dishes well, which – correct me if I’m wrong here – is sort of unusual for a teenager.)

But when I asked about her experience with meat or fish, she immediately gave protein-cooking credit to her mom, so we decided to map out our dinners this week around things she’d never approached on her own. At Trader Joe’s, I sent her to the meat case with instructions to find something that sounded good that she had no idea how to cook.

“How do you want to cook these?” I asked, as she added a package of lamb chops the little pile in our cart.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Something exotic and easy.”

I think they have a name for that already. Curry in a hurry, anyone?

Spiced Lamb Chops 2

Recipe for Spiced Lamb Chops with Whole Wheat Couscous
Recipe 169 of 365

Combining earthy, spicy garam masala – a blend of roasted spices often including pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, chilies, and bay leaves – with a little olive oil makes a wet rub that gives both lamb chops and couscous great flavor with minimum effort. If you want a sauce to dip it all in, make a quick raita by mixing plain yogurt with chopped cilantro, a little cumin, and salt and pepper.

TIME: 25 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings

1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 lamb chop steaks (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 cups water (or chicken broth)
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix the garam masala, turmeric, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a small bowl until well blended. Rub each side of each of the lamb chops with 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture, taking care not to taint the mixture in the bowl with juices from the lamb. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the spice mixture left in the bowl, and set aside to use with the couscous.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the steaks and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes per side for medium-rare (depending on thickness), or until the steaks are nicely browned on the outside but still a bit soft to the touch. (If the steaks are super thick, you may want to cook them for a few minutes on each of the short sides as well.)

While the steaks cook, bring the water to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. When it boils, stir in the couscous, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for about 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and stir in the remaining spice mixture, the parsley, and the feta.

When the steaks are done, spoon the couscous onto a serving plate, and place the steaks on top. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Indian, kitchen adventure, Lamb, recipe

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