Like fairies dancing in your mouth…this delish dish hits the right balance of exotic flavors, alluring aromas, perfect-feel texture, and visual appeal. The dried cherries, pickled figs, exotic nuts, and spice rub combine to transport you to a distant and alluring land for that oh-so-desired freaking and peaking stage of deliciousness.
This recipe works great with lamb chops, pork loin chops, or chicken thighs and legs so use whatever you like best. Today I’m featuring green beans as the side, but you could also serve it with pasta, rice, couscous, roasted Brussels Sprouts…choose whatever hikes your skirt and make it your own!
Just taste the love and breath in the sexiness…oh baby, you may just get lucky tonight!
- Large oven proof casserole dish or pot with lid, large enough to hold the lamb chops or other protein and about 4″ deep
- 2 medium-large mixing bowls
- Wire rack with pan or paper bags to catch roast drippings
- 3 qt. sauce pot
- Small sauce pot
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Chef knife
- Heat proof rubber spatula
- Hand juicer
- Chinois or strainer
- Tasting spoons…you have to taste along the way to adjust seasoning.
- 8 lamb loin bone-in chops (or pork loin chops, or chicken thighs and legs)
- 2 T salt, for brine
- 1.5 oz. Dukkah, seasoning (KL Keller Foodways)
- 1/8-1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of your pot
- 1 lg. onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 t fresh ginger, grated
- 1 lemon, zest and juiced
- 8 oz. white wine
- 1 T flour
- 16 oz. beef stock
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 t Dinamite Italian chili paste (Bottega Calabria)
- 1/2 C dried cherries, reserve half
- 4 oz. pickled figs (Boat Street Pickles), reserve half
- 2 oz. fig pulp vinegar (De Medicid Imports, LTD), reserve half
- 1/2 C fresh mint, chopped – reserve half
- 1/4 C fresh Italian parsley, chopped – reserve half
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, reserve half
- 1 t sea salt
- 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lb. green beans
- 3 T butter/bacon fat
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 8 oz. Applewood smoked bacon, rendered and chopped coarsely
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Quickly brine your chops (or whatever product you’re using) by dissolving salt in a mixing bowl with enough water to cover your meat. Leave your meat in the brining solution while you prep the rest of your ingredients, or about 30 minutes.Brining ensures juicy and tender chops and also works fabulously on chicken breast. Brine and you’ll never have another dry breast again...guaranteed!After brining, remove your chops from the solution and wipe clean with a paper towel or tea towel (do not rinse) before seasoning.
- Season dry chops with Dukkah seasoning, evenly coating both sides.
- Preheat oven to 300° F.
- Sear chops by first heating your large casserole dish or pot over medium high heat. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish and wait about a minute or less...you don’t want smoking oil, just warm oil...before adding the chops one at a time without overcrowding the dish.Hear that sizzle? Perfect! Immediately shake the dish or pot carefully back and forth so the product doesn’t stick - especially if you’re using chicken instead of lamb. Sear each side for about 3-4 minutes with the goal of an even golden brown color on both sides.It’s extremely important to watch your heat while you’re searing. You may need to turn the temperature down after initially adding the product to the pan
- Remove from heat and let drain on a wire rack over a pan or standard paper sack from the grocery store. This will help maintain the seared crust on the top and bottom of your chops or chicken.
- Sauté onion until transparent or lightly golden over medium heat and add garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and lemon zest and mix well.
- Deglaze the dish by increasing the heat and adding white wine and lemon juice. Cook until the liquid has reduce by half or “sec”, which means “almost dry” in french.
- Thicken the sauce by adding flour and mixing well. Add beef stock while stirring and let simmer for a few minutes on medium heat. Add bay leaf, brown sugar, and hot chili paste. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add half of all of the following ingredients: cherries, figs, fig pulp vinegar, mint, parsley, and rosemary. Add salt and pepper and stir well before putting your chops back in the dish.
- Roast chops covered for about 30-40 minutes in preheated oven. The internal temperature should be approximately 145° F when fully cooked.
- Blanch green beans to al dente in salted water while your chops are roasting. Set aside.If you’ve never blanched green beans, here you go...First bring water to a boil and generously salt before adding your trimmed and halved (depending on their size) beans. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, or until almost soft, before immediately transferring to an ice water bath in a separate bowl. The ice water will stop the beans from cooking further.
- Remove chops from oven and strain braising liquid. Using a chinois or fine strainer, strain the remaining liquid (the base of your sauce) into a small sauce pot. Add the other half of the cherries, figs, fig pulp vinegar, mint, parsley, and rosemary. Mix well and simmer over low heat.
- Caramelize the remaining onion in the same pot you used to blanch the green beans. Start by adding butter or bacon fat along with the onion and stir uncovered for about 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Add blanched green beans to caramelized onion with enough water to go about halfway up the height of the beans. Cook the beans until they are tender then add chopped bacon.
- Plate your chops draped in braising sauce and served with green beans.