Lamb, Rosemary, garlic and Lemon – A successful partnership indeed!

Lamb, Rosemary, garlic and Lemon is such a classic combination, isn’t it? A partnership that that just works, like Ozzie and Sharon, Bonnie and Clyde or Ike and Tina Turner. It is a partnership that brings forth a successful meal every time, whether it is a leg of lamb, a lamb roll or chops.
It just works! Lamb is a firm favorite in our household and my family will happily eat it in whatever form I present it to them, but lamb chops with lemon, garlic and rosemary get a thumbs up every time!
Lamb is one of the most versatile meats you can buy.  Cooked properly, it can also be one of the tastiest meats around. There are however a few tricks and hints that I have gathered over time and I will gladly share them with you.

How to buy lamb

This is the time of year here in South Africa where you can find delicious Spring Lamb, in other words a lamb that is  5-12 months old. During the winter months, I like to buy mutton,  the meat is slightly tougher, but you then use it for braises, stews and normally recipes that require lots of cooking. Grilling or braaiing season is here for us now, so the ultimate treat is tender succulent lamb cutlets with delicate flavors. Some people prefer Karoo lamb, others swear by the milder tastes of grass-fed lambs. When you buy a lamb, make sure the meat
is firm, finely grained  and pale-to-dark-pink meat. The outer layer of fat should be smooth and white. Check where the bones were cut, it must be porous, moist, and red.

Lamb Cuts

Leg of lamb

Most probably the cut that is associated with a traditional Sunday roast. Nothing beats a slow roasted leg of lamb with all the trimmings, such as sweet potato gratin, roast potatoes, cauliflower and  cheese sauce. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Lamb rib

My family’s favorite cut for the grill or braai. The children like my Moroccan Lamb riblets. They are sticky, sweet and spicy and when they are done, their plates look like a Halloween scene, “dead bones” where ever you look! You can leave the ribs whole or cut it into riblets, perfect for snack food, teen parties or picnic food!

Lamb Loin

To debone a lamb loin requires a little skill, but I am sure if you have a friendly butcher , he will be happy to do the job for you. It is ideal for entertaining guests, because it is a no-fuss meal, great for portion control and it presents very  beautifully on the plate.
Lamb Shanks

Aaah, now that is comfort food for you. Slow food is what it is all about here. Lamb shanks cooked in a Dutch oven with lots of fragrant herbs and spices until it is fall-off-the-bone-tender. Served on creamy mashed potatoes or polenta  for an Italian feast.
Lamb Mince

Lamb Mince makes the tastiest burgers. I will choose it over beef mince any day. Although not always readily available and a tad more expensive than beef, it so much more flavorful that it is worth every penny you pay more!.
Stew meat
What can be better than a hearty lamb stew when it is a grim an cold day. My favorite cuts for making stews are the knuckles and the neck. A fragrant lamb knuckle curry is the ultimate comfort food and who can resist a belly-warming Green Bean Stew

Lamb Chops 

Without a doubt the flagship cut of the lamb. If you buy good organic lamb and use the right cooking methods and time, you can be guaranteed of tender chops every time.
Lamb chops are quite simple and quick to prepare. Most people, when they hear the phrase ‘lamp chops’ think of the rib chop – this is the same as the ‘rib steak’ of beef, which becomes the ‘ribeye’, when cut off the bone, In lamb, the bone is always left in.
The loin chop is the same cut as the ‘T-bone’ in beef and has the same distinctive t-shaped bone.

Which brings me to my favorite way of adorning lamb chops. Rosemary, garlic and lemon, to me is just perfect with lamb chops. I find it quite interesting that cuisine around the world all use these flavors as a base and then give it their authentic twist. See for yourself…
Moroccan – rosemary, garlic, lemon and Cumin
Italian – rosemary, garlic, lemon and Oregano
Greek – rosemary, garlic, lemon and Mint

So here it is them…my favorite way of making Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon


8 lamb chops
3 cloves of garlic
1 lemon
a few sprigs of rosemary
olive oil

Place the garlic in a pestle and mortar and bash until it becomes a paste. You can add some coarse salt that will help the process somewhat. When it is a soft paste, add some olive oil and mix. Add some lemon juice and you are ready to go. Place  the lamb chops in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it. Close and leave in fridge for at least ½ hour. although overnight is best!
When you are ready to cook the chops, remove from the bag and scrape off the excess marinade. Heat your griddle pan until it is very hot and  grill the chops to perfection.

Grill  chops about 2 minutes or less per side, turning only once. They will cook quickly and are best if kept at medium-rare or under.
I served my Lamb Chops with a deliciously fragrant Chickpea stew and some creamy polenta/pap!