Lamb chops Mechoui-style

I bought a pack of nice fat juicy lamb cutlets in M&S and decided to Moroccan-ise them for supper. Mechoui is a north-African way of cooking over an open fire, with a special spice mix. The spice mix I use is:
  • 1 tbsp groun coriander seeds
  • 11/2 tsp groun cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 11/2 tbsp olive oil
  • For the roasted cumin salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 11/2 tsp sea salt flakes
Mix the dry ingredients (not the Cumin salt ingredients), put in a plastic bag, throw in the chops and give it all a good shake to coat the chops. Leave to marinade for a while. In the meantime, put the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and roast over a flame until them begin to release their aroma. Pound to a powder in a pestle and mortar with Maldon sea salt.

I cook meat like this on my trusty Breville electric grill. This was a kitchen gadget I resisted buying for a long time; then one day last year, I was in John Lewis, buying a large plasma screen tv, and thought, what the hell, I'll buy a grill as well. For a month, I made nothing but paninis on it (it's marketed as a 'panini maker'). Then I discovered it could do meat, and fish, and veg, and lovely toasted sourdough. It's jolly useful, though a bit of a pain to clean, despite it's so-called non-stick surface. You can also griddle the chops on one of those hob-top ridged cast iron griddle pan. The great thing about the Breville is that it negates the need to turn the meat (or the veg, or the fish.....)

When the chops are done - and "done-ness" is an entirely personal thing, in my experience. Since I like my red meat still twitching (just), I would never presume done-ness to others, so it's up to you..... Anyway, when the chops are done to your liking, you're supposed to brush them with melted butter, but, hey, life's too short to brush chops with butter, ain't it? and besides I was deeply into winning at University Challenge, having correctly identified piano concertos by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Gershwin and Rachmaninov.... So I just brushed the chops with the cumin salt, and then served them with griddled aubergine slices with feta, sumac and dill, couscous and a harissa dressing made from a teaspoon of harissa stirred into about two tablespoons of creme fraiche. Greenness was provided by stir-fried Padron peppers and a £2 bottle of wine from Bottoms Up, which has now gone Tits Up.


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