The first year Adam and I were dating I offered to cook him anything he wanted for his birthday dinner. He asked for lamb. At that point in my life I had not only never cooked lamb, but I hadn’t eaten any “meat” other than chicken or fish for seven years. (I’ve since reverted to being an omnivore.) I had no idea what to do to prepare a meal for him of lamb that would be worthy of his birthday.
So, I went to work that day and started asking around. Luckily, there was, hidden amongst us, a chef! I didn’t realize it but our “temp” office secretary/receptionist who was there for the summer was actually a professionally trained chef, from Paris no less! He was in NYC for the summer because his boyfriend was a photographer or something and working on some project in NYC. But, I digress… anyway, he heard me asking (in a somewhat desperate and hopeless voice, no doubt) if anyone knew how to cook lamb. Ask and ye shall receive!
He took out a piece of blank paper and scribbled down on it a recipe that looked simple enough. Brown the chops, let them rest in the oven, whip up a sauce in the pan and serve. He gave me a reasonable amount of instruction on how to know if they were cooked properly. But, before he let me walk away, with that recipe in my hot little hand, he told me one more thing, “If he likes lamb, and you cook this for him, that man is never going to leave you.” Then he just smiled… Ha! ‘The way to a man’s heart…’, and all I suppose!
It should go without saying that this meal was so delicious that it put me on the road to omnivore status once again. It is simple to make, unbelievably elegant, and the perfect celebratory dinner for two. Serve it with asparagus, and maybe even some scalloped potatoes and you have a home cooked New Year’s dinner that will be just as good as going out.
Lamb Chops With Tarragon
1 lb lamb chops
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine*
1 tbsp dried tarragon
4 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
Freshly chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat olive oil and butter in a large deep skillet. When the pan is very hot, add the lamp chops cooking on each side 3-5 minutes until each side has browned. Remove the chops from the pan and place in an oven set to “warm” (you don’t want them to continue to cook just not get cold).
Add the wine to the skillet and deglaze the pan. Allow the wine to cook down for about 2 minutes then add the tarragon and sour cream. Stir to incorporate and then allow sauce to simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove the chops from the oven and pour the sauce over and sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley.
* when cooking with wine remember you are concentrating the flavor so never use cooking wines you can buy in the grocery store – they are mostly salt – instead use a wine that you would like to drink from the glass.