Monday, May 7, 2007

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chop with Fresh Mint Jelly

Growing up, one of my favorite “special occasion” meals was grilled lamb chops, and of course the always present, bright green, jar of mint jelly. What a great combination! Now, this just wasn’t my Mom’s secret combo, every restaurant we ever dined at, that served lamb chops would always serve the same green (artificially colored of course) jelly, just like at home. So, you can image my surprise and confusion, when arriving in San Francisco to start my culinary career, discovering that there was no green mint jelly.

I remember talking about a lamb special that was going on the menu of a Café I was working, and the Chef and a few of us cooks were throwing around ideas for a sauce. I said something like, “what about a classic green mint jelly?” Wow, they all looked at me like we were at a heavy metal music convention and I just suggested throwing on some Bee Gees. Apparently green jelly was something only housewives still served with lamb and we were way too culinarily advanced to consider such a clichéd pairing. How embarrassing! I learned that day that it’s not enough that certain foods taste good together, but you also have to consider the fashion of the times.

By the way, if you still use the green jelly right out of the jar – stand proud! There’s nothing wrong with you. But, in certain circles (like the entire state of California) you just can’t pull out a jar of mint jelly, so today’s clip is a fine solution to avoid any embarrassment with the food snobs among us (they're everywhere). You’ll see me do a new take on the classic mint jelly, and turn an old cliché into a great, and flavorful, and socially acceptable sauce. Also, I’m grilling lamb shoulder chops, which are a nice, and much cheaper, alternative to the more popular lamb loin chops.

2 lamb shoulder chops (8 oz each)
3 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves garlic
2 tbl pomegranate juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tbl white wine vinegar
1 tbl water
1/2 bunch fresh mint
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


Donald said...

Oh man! I dig lamb, but never had it with mint jelly. I will give this a try as soon as the new kitchen is up and running...

Steffen said...

Here in denmark the mint gel, would have been apple and fresh mint. :)

Chef John said...

yes, almost any fruit and mint works great with grilled lamb... or any game for that matter. thanks.

~Bee Nee~ said...

I'm a mint-jelly-from-a-jar user and proud of it! =D Thanks for adding me to your links =)

Chef John said...

I liked you before, but now even more so!

kellypea said...

Sorry Chef John, but that green jelly is just plain gross. Kind of like that whole pork chop and applesauce thing, too. Am I a food snob? Nah. Anyone who grew up eating "sh*t on a shingle" can only be an old dog who has learned new tastes.

Chef John said...

lol. I used to do a whole lecture at the culinary academy regarding what is "good" and what is "bad"... the basic conclusion was that since it's all a subjective matter of taste, we all get to decide what's gross and what's delicious and no once can prove us wrong! I used to tell them to think of their least favorite food or recipe or food combination (cocktail meatballs in grape jelly?) and then think that whatever their most hated dish was, somewhere that exact same thing was someone else's favorite thing to eat. So, yes, green mint jelly is gross AND amazingly delicous on lamb all at the same time. Don't even get me started on red mashed potatoes with skins!!

Joe Eoj said...

Damn it, I bought Seville. Will make again soon with regular Orange Marmalade. Turned out well otherwise, but the taste of bitter orange wasn't some fantastic culinary mistake that took it to the next level.