A few weeks ago, I went to a chocolate party. That's right! A party at which someone sold all manner of awesome chocolate products. In addition to the usual bonbons and chocolate covered nuts, there were chocolate martinis, brownies, and a spicy chocolate meat rub. When I first saw the sample of this at the party, I was immediately skeptical. I thought the chocolate would be overwhelming. But, it smelled more spicy than chocolatey. I was intrigued, and for some reason the first meat that came to mind as an experiment was lamb chops.
This meal came together surprisingly easily, most of it was made while the potatoes were roasting. The spice rub is awesome! It's just a hint of cocoa mixed in with chili powder, garlic, and onion (and probably some other spices I couldn't identify). It works very well with lamb!
These three dishes work really well together because the onions and lamb can be prepped and cooked while the potatoes are roasting. I recommend the potatoes as a side dish because they have only a few ingredients and require very little active time. The jalapeño provides just enough kick to make them much more interesting than boring, plain roasted potatoes!
Lamb Chops with Spicy Chocolate Rub
Original Recipe (sorta)
6 small lamb chops, rinsed and patted dry
Dove Sweet N' Spicy Cocoa Rub (or something similar)
1) Rub the spice rub all over the lamb chops. Place them in a dish, cover with cling wrap, and put them in the fridge for 30 mins or so. (I suppose they could be cooked right away, too).
2) Heat a grill or grill pan. Then grill the lamb chops for 4 to 5 minutes each side (to cook 1 inch thick chops medium). Using a meat thermometer, 155 is medium. I did it for a little less, about 4 minutes on one side and 3 on the other, my chops were less than one inch thick and I prefer medium rare.
Balsamic and Sage Onions
1 jar of pearl onions in brine, drained and rinsed
About 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I didn't use the good balsamic, just regular Wegman's two leaf)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (optional if you can't get it, but I think it worked really well with the vinegar!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter
Splash of olive oil
1) Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they brown a little. Salt and pepper to taste.
2) Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer until the onions are well coated. About 4 or 5 mins.
3) Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the vinegar as you can. Add the butter and stir it in as it melts. Then add the sage and stir well. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
4) Return the onions to the pan and coat with the thickened balsamic sauce and serve.
5) I made the totally random decision to serve the onions over some field greens because I wanted some greens with my dinner. It's totally optional, I know a lot of people don't like warm stuff on their lettuce!
Jalapeño Roasted Potatoes
From Food & Wine
3/4 lb small white and/or red creamer potatoes, halved (the original recipe calls for fingerling potatoes but I've never seen them at my grocery store. Creamers work fine).
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 jalapeños, stemmed, halved, seeded, and sliced thinly
salt and peper
1) Preheat your oven to 450 F.
2) Put potatoes, oil, jalapeños, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and toss well.
3) Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spread the potatoes over it, cut sides down.
4) Roast for about 30 minutes, or until they look done.