2-4 cups of your choice of five fresh herbs (weeds) from the suggested list below:
Chocolate mint or mix of other mints
parsley, flat curled or both
lemon grass, 1 or two stalks
basil, all types
1 head of garlic, chopped or pressed
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup either red wine vinegar, garlic red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar
8-12 lamb chops
Spoon Mage™ Note:
The list of herbs shown above in green and others such as lemon balm and thyme are just a few of the many home garden cookery herbs that my good friend Rabbit calls “weeds”. From him, I learned to select and fearlessly combine them to create the most delicious marinades.
Grab a basket and harvest the fresh herbs available in your garden or those found in the fresh herb section of your local grocery. There are no have to have it measured amounts. Just pick a handful unless otherwise indicated above. For herbs with stronger aromas and flavors, such as rosemary, choose a few stems.
When making a marinade for lamb, make sure to include at least one variation of mint.
My favorite for lamb is chocolate mint (the mint in the picture). If you have not tried chocolate mint, go get some seeds right now and plant them. It is a beautiful and useful plant.
Your choice of weeds will become very personal over time as you play with the flavors and make adjustments based upon what grows in your garden.
For the lamb, get rib chops that the butcher has Frenched. This means that he or she cleaned off the cartilage and fat between the ends of the rib bones. The result is less fat on the chop. It also makes the little lollypop chops easy to pick up to eat with your fingers… be sure to nibble the meat off the bone.
Harvest a variety of herbs from the garden.
Pick twice as much oregano, thyme, or marjoram as you do mint. Mint can overpower and you just want it to just add depth.
Toss great mountains of your favorite basil into the harvest bowl. Try lemon or anise or Thai basil if you have them.
Rosemary is a powerful herb, so you may need only 1-3 small stems.
Carry the large bunches of greenery into the house, rinse and pat them all dry with either paper or tea towels.
Trim the lemongrass from the bottom up to make a length of about 8 inches long. Discard the top portion and tie the rest into a loose knot. Smash it a couple times with a meat mallet.
Trim the rosemary and thyme into 3 inch lengths. Leave these unchopped.
Remove the leaves and tender parts from the woody stems of all the rest of the herbs.
Wad up clumps of the leaves and, using a large very sharp knife, begin chopping them, turning the knife and using it in a rocking fashion to reduce the herbs to very small pieces, or if you like all the way to a paste… it all depends on how carried away you get with the knife.
Scrape the mass of herbs into a large bowl of sufficient size so that it will not overflow when you add liquids and chops. Add rosemary, thyme, lemongrass and any other herb you are leaving largely whole.
Peel, chop or press an entire head of garlic cloves, and add it to the bowl.
Add the lemon juice, wine, olive oil, and vinegar. Stir well.
At this point you could add some fresh cracked black pepper but it is not really necessary. Do not add salt.
The marinade should be somewhat thick. Take a moment to inhale the aroma. Isn’t it wonderful!
Add the lamb chops and massage the marinade all over each one.
Pour the lamb and marinade into either a lidded container or zip lock baggies. If you use a baggie, place it inside another baggie. Those little lamb bones are sharp and you do not want marinade all over the refrigerator… not that this has ever happened to me.
Place the container in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours or until it is time to grill. Do not marinade chops any longer as the texture and flavor of the meat alters too much.
Remove the lamb from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before grilling.
Before grilling, take the chops out of the marinade. Discard the marinade as it has done its job well.
Grill the lamb over hot coals, turning as needed to keep from burning. Cook for about four minutes on each side which is medium rare – my preference, but they are your lamb chops and if you want to cook them another minute or two more go for it. I won’t watch.
Try to not cook them all the way to well and beyond as the chops may turn dry and tough. Watch them attentively.