Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roasted Sweet & Spicy Lamb on Braised Lentils with Orange & Carrot Salad

I seem to have hit the mark with this one. As many things in the kitchen do nowadays, it all started at the farmer's market when I found these beautiful little lamb loin chops. It's amazing how buying lamb or duck or other such delicacies is ridiculously overpriced at the supermarket and thus relatively cheap when bought directly from the farmer. But that's another story.

I marinated my loin chops in a sweet and spicy sauce. The hope was to recreate something I'd eaten at Three Guys and A Stove in Huntsville, Ontario. Here is the description of the astounding lamb ribs I had there: "Ontario lamb charred with sweet & spicy roasted peanut glaze, grilled marinated pineapple and Frangelico & served with roasted red potatoes and vegetables". If you're mouth is watering at the description, you should definitely try it out for yourself. When those posh feather headed ladys in big city cooking shows say that something is "divine", they've never tasted these ribs. Now my loin chops weren't necessarily divine but considering that I'm no celibrity chef, I have to admit that this dish was well put together as far as flavours and textures go.

The lamb turned out very nice and the sauce had caramelized beautifully over top of it. I sat them on a bed of braised red lentils, the recipe having been found on (I've included the link below). The sweet and mildly spicy taste of the lamb combined perfectly with the rich and very home-cooked tasting lentils. To add and repeat flavours, I made an orange and carrot North African salad that both highlighted ingredients in the lamb sauce and added some extra zing and crunchy texture. The finishing touch was a light dusting of cinnamon. All in all, this was the kind of meal that I would work on to make it really out of this world.

Sweet & Spicy Sauce

2 tbsp marmalade or apricot jam
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 garlic clove, mashed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
ground or fresh hot pepper to desired spiciness
1/4 cup roasted peanuts (I used pecans cause that's what I had on hand. This recipe would be great with, say, roasted almonds and almond butter or any other such doubling of a nut. A combination of different nuts would propably be delicious as well.)

1. Combine all ingredient to make a paste and slather over meat to marinate for an hour or more. Place the marinated meat of choice on a roasting pan, making sure that sauce is on top. Cook till meat is done and sauce has caramelized.

Braised Lentils :

Orange Salad with Carrot : North African Cooking by Tess Mallos, p. 48

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