Friday, March 16, 2012

Cooking with Beer: Lamb

This fast lamb chop meal is inspired by the Peruvian lamb dish called Seco de Cordero.  That famous stew flavors lamb shanks with beer, cilantro, onions and peppers.   Stripped down to cook in just dark beer and cilantro, these lamb chops take on an attractive gloss and slough off their fat in just half on hour.

Fresh mint is added at the end with some extra cilantro to really brighten up the flavor.  I like to remove the meat from the bone in chunks and serve it in a warm flour tortilla with some shredded lettuce and more herbs, plus a little mild goat or feta cheese.  The chops also do very nicely as is alongside a green vegetable and baked potatoes or salad. 

Beer-Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops
4 servings
4-6 thin shoulder chops (1/2 inch think)
salt, pepper, cumin
olive oil to brown
1 cup dark beer
2 tablespoons pureed cilantro sauce (Puree1/2 cup chopped cilantro including stems, juice of 1 line, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup water or broth)
2 tablespoons each chopped fresh cilantro and mint

To serve:
4-6 flour tortillas
1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
shredded lettuce
extra cilantro and mint to garnish

Method
  1. Sprinkle salt, pepper and cumin on each side of chops.  
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown chops on each side, until they are deep brown—about 4-5 minutes per side.  Transfer chops to a separate platter as they are browned.  
  3. Return all chops to skillet, lower heat to medium-low and add beer. Cover and simmer chops.  
  4. Meanwhile, make cilantro sauce by pureeing cilantro with lime juice, olive oil and water.  
  5. When chops have cooked for about 15 minutes, stir in cilantro sauce.  
  6. Cover skillet and cook another 15 minutes, until meat is falling off the bone and meat looks glazed.  Very little liquid will remain.  
  7. Remove chops from skillet and serve with cilantro sauce garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and mint.
To serve with warmed flour tortillas, remove meat from bone and cut into chunks or strips. Stuff each tortilla with meat, lettuce, herbs and cheese.