I don’t say this lightly. I’m not sure I even want to wish that on her (I’m picturing Tony Bourdain’s face on my little girl’s body), but really, this kid loves to cook with me in the kitchen. It’s THE thing we do together.
Sure, when she’s upset she asks for Daddy. And when she wakes up at night, she asks for Daddy. And when I act all parental and put my foot down about one thing or another, she asks for the phone so she can call Daddy and beg for clemency. And now and again, I feel a little like chopped liver to his porterhouse - but Lucy and I, we still have the kitchen.
(or trying to get him to put on her princess movie "one more time")
Lucy is asking to cook with me at every meal and snack. She asks to get on her cooking stool and stand next to me at the chopping board, the two of us snipping chives with scissors, working the handle hand over hand, cutting spring onions (which made her eyes tear up yesterday learning a very important kitchen rule about onions) and tearing off sprigs of herbs and landing them in a pot and lobbing butter into a cast iron pan.
It's the thing we do together – the place we connect – and so, I want it to go on like this endlessly. I want us to have the kitchen as a place where we can always come back to, where we can poach a catfish and talk about what's happening and just be together.
That's my fantasy. On the other hand, cooking could be displaced by Barbie Dolls and Hanna Montana next week, so I'll just enjoy this moment.
Anyway, Lucy and I had fun making this lamb recipe. She loves tearing off the herbs from their stems and lofting them into the pot. I know we recently gave you lamb tacos, but I wanted to post this recipe especially for one of my readers - Megan - because this meal is great for busy families and also busy grad students who might want to impress a suitor one Friday night or host a few friends over in between exams and papers. So, this one's for you, Megan.
Herb Soaked Lamb Shoulder Chops
You should buy lamb shoulder chops for this recipe. They are fatty and have a lot of flavor. They are also very cheap. So, you can make this dish for friends and guests and not spend a fortune. I throw the chops in a covered pot and marinate them in olive oil (be generous), dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, (be generous with the herbs, too) salt and pepper and throw them in the fridge.
The longer you let the meat steep in the herbs, the better the flavor. Really, I tried marinating for a few hours, over night and two days and the two day meat was better than the over night meat which was better than the two hour meat. I also go into the pot several times through the marinating process and turn the chops around and get them all slick and drenched with oil and herbs.
Here’s how simple it is: Ten minutes before you are ready to eat, take the chops out of the fridge and out of the marinade, shake off any excess oil, but don't wipe. It's just fine if there are sprigs of herbs stuck to them. All the better. Throw them in a VERY HOT cast iron skillet or cast iron grill pan. You won't need any oil in the pan because there is enough on the chops.
Cook on each side until the meat is medium. (When you're cooking lamb, the shoulder cuts should be done a little more than other parts like the ribs). Serve with your favorite veg side dish, salad and a crusty bread.
Oh! And don't forget to let your guests see you take the pot of chops out of the fridge before you cook. The chops look so pretty and smell so fragrant coming out of the pot and into the pan, you'll have your guests salivating before they get to the table.