As promised to my loyal readers, I am sharing my grandmother’s famous Mediterranean lamb chops recipe. This dish is very special in our family as it is prepared at every holiday and it has been the same recipe for over 3 generations. It derives its ingredients from a mix of typically Moroccan spices, such as paprika and cumin, but also has Spanish influences such as saffron and lemon. This mix of flavors perfectly represents my family’s Jewish Sephardic roots in Tangier, Morocco, a coastal city known for its European flare.
Lamb is a very popular dish in these regions, and the ingredients used complement the chops beautifully. Aromatic herbs such as mint and cilantro mixed with cumin and paprika, give the dish a lovely flavor profile.
The chops are first seared and then braised in the oven, making these tender and succulent. A perfect dish to celebrate a holiday, such as Rosh Hashanah. Make sure to save the sauce to pour over the chops when serving the dish.
- 12 lamb chops
- Juice of 3 lemons
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 garlic clove
- 400 ml water
- ⅔ cup white wine
- 5 saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Mix the lamb chops with the marinade: juice of 3 lemons, parsley, cilantro, mint, paprika, cumin, 3 minced garlic cloves, and one teaspoon salt. Marinate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Heat oil in large oven-safe pan with lid or cast-iron dutch oven over medium-high heat, then brown chops on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes total. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In the same pan, decrease the heat to medium, and sauté the sliced onions until softened and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the remaining garlic clove and cook for one minute.
- Add 400 ml water, ⅔ cup white wine, 5 saffron threads, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
- Return chops to the pan and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Cover the pan and place in the oven at 350 F for 1½ hours, checking liquid in the pan every 30 minutes. Remove the lid the last 15 minutes to allow the chops to brown a bit but make sure.
- If there is too much sauce left in the pan, you can reduce it on the stove over medium heat.
- Allow the chops and the sauce to come to room temperature and place in the refrigerator separately, until serving time. You can remove any fat from the sauce once it has cooled sufficiently.
- Serve with a garnish of fresh herbs.