Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grilled Icelandic Lamb Chops with Honey Herb Chimichurri


"Thank you to Whole Foods for sponsoring this post. Product was provided, but no compensation was given and all opinions are my own."
Manservant was astounded when I agreed to writing a Whole Foods post on Icelandic lamb. After all, I stopped eating red meat 8 years ago. Why did I stop? The short answer is that after viewing a movie about large scale production "factory farms", I decided that as a child I had eaten enough meat to last a life time. And so I just stopped. I am not usually so decisive about such important matters, but for some reason that movie resonated with me. And I don't even remember the name of it!

The rest of my family continued to eat their beef and their lamb, but I never really missed it. Well, I did miss eating burgers but even that desire has been erased, as there are so many other choices one has when it comes to burgers. And really; aren't burgers all about the fries and ketchup? I continued to cook with beef, but over the years it has become less and less. I do grill the occasional steak when they come home, and if I am eating a chicken burger, I'll buy them beef, but that's about it!

When I made my decision there weren't a lot of choices when it came to eating beef. Or lamb. Now there are smaller ranches and grass fed, hormone free cows and frankly, if I had had those choices then I may have never given up eating the meat. But I did and I see no reason to turn back as I've come to live with it. However I must admit that my family hopes I never see a movie about chickens or pigs because when I really think about it, I could probably take those off my list, too.


So why then did I decide to write about lamb? Well, I knew Manservant would be very happy to eat some and this kitchen aims to please. It wasn't that long ago that I used to make lamb for dinner parties. It is a great dish for entertaining because many folks just don't know how to cook it and many aren't familiar with it. That is a shame, because lamb used to be one of my favorites.

There are two things that I can tell you now. Colorado has great lamb and Iceland has outstanding lamb. Unless they were sampled side by side, I don't know if one could tell the difference, but from what I remember lamb always had a somewhat mild, but gamey taste that was always enhanced by the addition of a sauce or a marinade. I did sample a bite of the Icelandic lamb, but even if I had wanted more, I don't think Manservant would have allowed me one more morsel. It was that good. (This is from a man who eats around the world at 5 star restaurants and 5 star holes in the wall, while I sit home with eggs and toast!)

These chops were easily grilled, about 5-6 minutes per side. Lamb should be served pink, for the best flavor. I served these with a simple chimichurri type sauce composed of cilantro, red onion and mint with a touch of honey. The honey really made this! I drizzled it over the chops while they were warm. Nothing else was needed because this lamb is glorious on its own. However I did drizzle the sauce on my chicken which made for a very happy chicken breast!

Icelandic lamb is special. The sheep are allowed to graze freely for 5 months, eating herbs and berries through the mountains, with 24 hours of sunshine to keep them happy. Think no pesticides there! They are then rounded up each fall in true Viking tradition. The lamb is sent fresh to Whole Foods and is only sold in the fall. It is mild and delicate and requires very little seasoning or preparation. It is tender, with  such a delicate taste; I almost didn't know I was eating meat. Lamb makes a perfectly elegant meal for a party or yourself. It isn't available at all Whole Foods stores, so get it while you can.


Grilled Icelandic Lamb Chops with Honey Herb Chimichurri
Figure 2-3 per person (My Whole Foods only sold the loin chops.)
Time to make: About 5 minutes and 4-6 minutes per side
Ingredients:
2-3 Lamb loin chops per serving
Salt
Pepper
Honey Herb Chimichurri
2 1/2 T chopped cilantro
2 1/2 T c chopped mint
2 T finely diced red onion
Pinch of salt
Pinch of chile flakes
1/2 to 3/4 t of honey
3 T olive oil
1 t red wine vinegar

Directions:
Bring lamb chops to room temperature, about 20 minutes before placing on grill. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper on each side. Preheat grill to high.

While grill is heating, combine ingredients for the honey herb chimichurri. Make sure grill is oiled and place lamb chops on grate for about 4-6 minutes per side.I lost my meat thermometer but lamb should be cooked from 145 to 160 degrees. Let rest, lightly tented with foil for about 5 minutes before serving which means one should take it off the grill about 10 degrees before desired doneness. Drizzle with chimichurri before serving.

More to Try:
Other Chimichurri Sauce
Truffled Scalloped Potatoes
Cauliflower Salad with Hummus and Tahini Dressing
Maple Pecan Cream Cheese Poundcake




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32 comments:

  1. We don't eat much meat anymore but I've been on a chicken run lately. These look great and it makes me want to go back to Iceland. You've never seen so many healthy people! What a great trip :) Your chimichurri looks wonderful! Pinning :)

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    1. Thanks Tricia! We eat way too much chicken! The chimi is so good1

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  2. that looks amazingly good, Abbe. I am craving it! xoxoxox cindy

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  3. Lamb is awfully good -- probably my favorite red meat (although goat gives it a run for its money). Always prefer lamb to beef, given a choice. Anyway, this looks fantastic -- love the chimichurri. Good stuff -- thanks.

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    1. This was phenomenal lamb! Chimi was so delicious! Thanks, John!

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  4. This is the time when I wish I ate lamb! They look really super, Abbe.

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  5. We definitely eat less meat than we used to as well, although I haven't given up any type of meat (other than lobster, which I rarely ate anyhow). So interesting to read about Icelandic lamb - if I ever get to Iceland I'll give it a try!

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    1. We eat a lot less meat, nut Manservantc ould still eat it as often as he could, if I served it to him! Go to Whole Foods. It saves on airfare:)

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  6. Sounds wonderful Abbe! I never cared too much for lamb till I had really good lamb. This sounds REALLY good!!

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    1. Scott, this was sensational! You will love it!

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  7. HI Abbe, I know my husband would go crazy for this and chimichurri is one of my favorite sauces.

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  8. My husband grills lamb chops about once a month. I can't wait try them with your Chimichurri.

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  9. Abbe, these little lamb chops look stunning. I really like that sauce. I did not know you were not eating meat...actually I feel much better when I eat less of it and more vegan meals. Groceries are really crazy...crazy expensive here and so is lamb...so more and more vegan meals are hitting out table.

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    1. You have such wonderful markets there Bobbie, so it is no surprise! I eat chicken and some pork, but mostly fish and veggies! Well, there is an awful lot to choose from!

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  10. I make chimichurri often and can't wait to try your version with the honey. It sounds terrific and must have been delicious on the lamb.

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    1. Love the honey in it and you can increase it as needed. I think it depends on what you are using it on as to how sweet you want it! Thanks Karen!

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  11. Although we still eat red meat, we eat less and less every year, it seems, and more fish. I'm not wildly fond of lamb but grilled lamb chops are a favorite. Go figure! These look absolutely wonderful, Abbe!

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    1. They are exceptional! And I used to love rack of lamb and the rib chops at a Vietnamese restaurant are incredible!

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  12. I like chimichurri. And this dish here sounds and looks fabulous, Abbe. Stunning!

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    1. Thanks Anu! It is a pretty simple dish that does look pretty good! Appreciate it!

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  13. It seems we rarely eat meat..you must be thinking well all they eat are sweets:)

    Nope..
    I don't eat them..
    but when we eat steak..we split one..
    we still eat chicken..sometimes pork..lots of fish..and of course pasta dishes..

    This looks wonderful and I could see eating it al fresco..on the deck..w/ fave people and grilled garlic bread;)
    Anything w/ honey as a sweetener..thrills me.

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    1. I could eat sweets and salt all day long! Protein is not my fave. but these were outstanding! Garlic bread would be fantastic, but I could eat garlic bread for a whole meal!

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  14. Love lamb chops and these look great. We are fortunate to have a couple of local family farms who sell lamb, so we can access it very readily and have it somewhat often. This is on my list of dishes to do. Thanks Abbe!

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  15. YUM these lamb chops grilled sound amazing! We have to look for the lamb in Wholefoods next time we go.
    Thanks for the chimichurri idea for them.

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  16. We only eat lamb on occasion, but this looks like a fantastic way to enjoy it!

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  17. I LOVE lamb and am so impressed with this recipe. That little drizzle of honey is inspired. GREG

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  18. Bill LOVES lamb (and beef!) and would be thrilled with your chops!

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  19. That factory farm business is disturbing. I try to avoid purchasing products that I believe come from them. I took a pledge in September to eat no factory farm chicken and it's rather hard to do. I entertain clients frequently for lunch and I'm sure most restaurants use factory farm resources. :( Anyway, I'm making lamb this weekend. And always buy it from Tony's or Whole Foods. Your meal looks wonderful Abbe.

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