The weekend is the time when it’s my turn to cook. Depending on how busy the Saturday or Sunday is with family activities depends on how long I have to spend in the kitchen – all because our boys are young and need feeding early.
Today I had an hour and as it turned out I only needed half of that. I grabbed Nigel Slater’s beautiful cookbook The Kitchen Diaries (which is becoming dog-eared and stained in our kitchen) and started cooking his lamb chops with lemon and mint, then crushed potatoes in the meat juice. It’s so simple and you really only need, other than the meat and potatoes, two ingredients – mint leaves and a lemon.
- potatoes – enough to feed your group
- lamb leg chops (one per person)
- 1 lemon
- a big bunch of mint leaves
- olive oil
Put the potatoes on the boil in salted water. I quartered the potatoes into 3 cm squarish chunks so they cooked evenly. While they are boiling season the chops on both sides with ground black pepper and sea salt.
Finely grate the lemon zest and chop up the mint leaves into rough pieces. Grab a bowl and mix the lemon zest and mint with the olive oil – enough to make a slurry. Add ground black pepper and salt to taste.
When the potatoes are almost done warm the oil, lemon and mint mixture in a pan (I used a heavy non-stick and shallow frying pan), moderate heat until it starts bubbling. Careful not to burn it. When it’s at a good temperature place the seasoned lamb in the pan on top of the slurry. You want the meat cooked enough to colour on the outside but remain reddish and tender on the inside.
Once cooked transfer the meat onto a warm plate. Cover loosely with foil if you want, but don’t wrap it so tightly that it continues to cook.
By this time the potatoes should be properly cooked. Squeeze the lemon and pour the juice into the pan. With a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan gently freeing up all those tasty morsels of fried lamb and caramelised lemon and mint juices. Drain the potatoes and tip them into the pan. Gently crush (not mashing) the potatoes into the pan juices making sure it is distributed through the meat.
Take warm plates out of the oven, serve a couple of big spoons of potato onto the plate and place a lamb steak on top. If there’s any juice left in the pan, or on the plate the meat has been sitting on then pour that over the chop.
Serve to your hungry guests and bask in their compliments!