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Braised lamb chops with potatoes, peas, and cumin

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Blue Kitchen

(Read caption) Cumin, turmeric, and chili powder bring familiar Indian fragrances and flavors to this one-pot dinner.

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Life is being busy right now, so this post will be about as quick as making this dish is. At the recent International Home + Housewares Show, we ran into Anupy Singla, author of several best-selling Indian cookbooks. We’ve cooked from one of her cookbooks here and eaten food she’s cooked at an event hosted in her home. So we were excited to see what she’s up to now.

In addition to a new cookbook and her own line of "Indian As Apple Pie" spices, Anupy is getting ready to launch a line of sauces – both bases for serious cooking and all-you-add-is-protein-and-rice (or naan) finished sauces for busy weeknights. We’ll tell you more about these one day soon.

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As always, talking with Anupy and her husband made us happy. It also left me with a hankering for Indian flavors. Given our current state of busyness, I didn’t feel like committing to a full-blown Indian exploration. I just wanted some familiar fragrances and flavors in the kitchen. So a pair of lamb shoulder chops formerly destined for a francophile treatment suddenly took an Indian-inspired turn. Cumin was my main spice of choice; turmeric and chili powder also played a role. I purposely used sparing amounts, seeking more a suggestion than big flavors. With peas and potatoes, the lamb also tasted like spring.

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Lamb chops with potatoes, peas and cumin
Serves 2

2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
2/3 cup chicken stock or broth (reduced-sodium preferred)
2/3 cup water
1-1/2 cups peas, fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)

1. Combine 1/2 teaspoon cumin with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl. Brush both sides of chops with the mixture and season them generously with salt and pepper. Set chops aside to let them come to room temperature while you prep the other ingredients.

2. Scrub the potatoes, but don’t peel them. Cut into largish cubes and place in a microwave-safe container, along with 1 tablespoon of water. Microwave for 3 minutes; this will help them cook faster when added to the pan.

3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, lidded sauté pan or skillet over medium-high flame. Add chops to pan and brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn chops and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to plate. If the lamb has produced a fair amount of fat (mine certainly did), pour off all but 2 tablespoons.

4. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring often, until softening and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, remaining cumin, turmeric, and chili powder to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (really, really fragrant), about 45 seconds. Add chicken stock and water to pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add peas and potatoes to pan. Season with salt and pepper.

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5. Return chops to pan, along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover pan. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Plate chops and serve potatoes and peas around them.

Related post on Blue Kitchen: A nose for cooking: Lamb with Celery and Cumin