Marinated Lamb Chops with Orange Pistachio Chimichurri

Easter is the only time of year they sell lamb in tricities, {where I do my grocery shopping}, so this week I was really excited to make a roast leg of lamb with a classic mint sauce, english roast potatoes and gravy, just like my Mum used to make around Easter. However, when I got to the lamb section, I found minced lamb, lamb chops, lamb shoulder chops, and lamb shanks… pretty much everything besides the leg that I was looking for! So I decided to roll with it, and make something a little different.

I have never made lamb shoulder chops before, so I searched for a little help and inspiration online, and quickly realized that there is rarely a lamb recipe that doesn’t involve mint, lemon or goat’s cheese. Usually these safe, delicious classics are what i’d go for–but lately I have been feeling the need for a challenge, to be a little bolder, and more creative and step outside of my cooking comfort zone, so I decided to use oranges instead!

A lady from Greece said that lamb with oranges was the way to go… and since I went to Greece last summer, and tried their food–I know they know what they’re talking about! Especially when it comes to lamb. I had a bowl of clementines sitting in front of me {my kids pop those like candy, so they’re a staple in our home!} And I thought I would add a few pistachios to the chimichurri, just to give the dish a little crunch, and color.

The orange pistachio chumichurri was such a brave, crazy experiment for me, that honestly, I was a little afraid to try it… but one taste, and I couldn’t stop eating it! That’s right.. plain! Just spooning chimichurri straight into my mouth, with no shoes or nothin’! {I mean chips}. It was THAT good!!! Sweet and salty and subtle which worked perfectly with the lamb, which was tender and juicy and perfectly seasoned! I am so glad I went out of my cooking comfort zone–because this is the BEST lamb dish I have ever cooked! I was excited to post it in time for easter, in case you’re looking to do something a little braver and bolder with your lamb this year too.

Ingredients:
{for the marinade: recipe adapted from cookinglight.com}
2 lamb shoulder chops {around 3/4lb each}
1 Tbsp grainy dijon
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

{for the chimichurri}
2 cups fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 satsumas/clementines, peeled and segmented
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pistachios
pinch cumin
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp butter for cooking

Directions:
Place all ingredients for the marinade in a large ziploc bag, add the lamb chops, and coat well. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to a day.

Place all ingredients for the chimichurri in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.

When ready to cook, take the pork chops out of the marinade, and discard the marinade. Add a little rock salt and freshly ground black pepper to the lamb chops. Heat the butter in the olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops, and cook for 6 minutes per side, until medium rare.

Serve the lamb chops with the chimichurri on top and some fresh spring vegetables {or some parmesan orzo, which is my go-to recipe when I have nothing else on hand!}

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<3 Sarah