Lamb. It’s one of those meals rarely served at home. Possibly because it’s so intimidating.
First of all, you have to know that your guests enjoy eating lamb, which has a gamey flavor that can range from mild to nose-curling pungent, depending on the age of the lamb as well as what it was fed.
And then cooking it is a whole different matter. Legs of lamb and racks of lamb can be showstoppers on the dinner table, but the level of intimidation for home cooks for these cuts is enough to make most seek another option.
For Easter, lamb as well as ham are traditional entrees. So I set out to create a low-intimidation lamb recipe that can be easily tackled by most home cooks as well as include uniquely Oregon flavors.
For this recipe, I use lamb chops, which are easily found at grocery stores (even Winco carries them) and are easy to cook, and I combined them with an herb rub of sage, rosemary, and juniper berries to complement the flavor of the lamb, and then included a glaze using Marionberry jam and a crust of hazelnuts and bread crumbs to give it a signature Oregon flavor.
Roasted Lamb Chops Glazed with Marionberry Pinot Noir and Crusted with Hazelnut Breading
- 1 tablespoon rubbed Dalmatian sage
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 3 juniper berries
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 12 lamb chops (2 per person)
- 1/3 cup Marionberry jam
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup pinot noir
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 5 slices white bread
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine sage, rosemary, juniper berries, salt, and black peppercorns in a spice mill and process until finely ground. (If you don’t have a spice mill, use ground black pepper, and pound the juniper berries in a mortar and pestle until they’re ground up, then mix all of the above spices together.)
- Sprinkle each side of the lamb chops with some of the spice mixture and reserve ½ teaspoon for the breading.
- In a small saucepan, make jam glaze by combining jam, mustard, and wine over medium heat and whisk until jam melts and mustard is thoroughly combined. Lower heat and whisk periodically and cook until liquid is reduced to the consistency of syrup. Turn off heat and hold.
- Process hazelnuts in a food processor until ground to the size of black peppercorns. Add 5 slices roughly chopped white bread with the crust removed and process until bread is fine crumbs. Empty contents into bowl.
- Lay lamb chops on a non-stick baking sheet. Starting with 1 lamb chop at a time, brush the sides without the bone with the jam glaze and then gently pack a thin layer of the nut and breading mixture on the sides.
- Once you’re done with all the chops, place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes or until the temperature of the lamb reaches 135 degrees if you like your lamb rare. For medium-rare, lengthen roasting time another 5 minutes. Let rest a few minutes and serve with remaining glaze.