This weekend was the first in a long time that we had to just ‘chill’. Aside from being at a friends for dinner on Friday night, the weekend was ours.
I’ve been battling a bit with a cold, so decided that on Saturday we’d have a lovely dinner to cheer me up. I came up with a couple of options from my cookbooks and jumped in the car and drove the couple of miles to our local Mountsorrel Co-Op store, which as you can imagine on a Saturday afternoon was my vastly preferred option to going over to Loughborough and visiting our nearby brand I will not name superstore.
I’m looking forward to working with the Midlands Co-operative Society this year and to kick start it they very kindly sent me some vouchers. With voucher in hand, I picked up lamb chops, some fresh spinach and other bits and pieces needed for dinner and headed home. I’m already a member of the co-op and collect points on food purchases (and on other areas of their business). Its quite a cool scheme – as a co-operative business, you’re not just collecting points but actually becoming a co-owner earning a dividend payment every 6 months.
Anyway – back to dinner – I decided to go with simple but impressive griddled lamb with creamed spinach from Marcus Wareing’s How to Cook the Perfect. I’ve had this book for a long time but its still probably one of my favourites. The recipes are quite simple but the photography is beautiful, the recipes easy to follow and for each on, he offers great ‘fix it’ tips for it you get it wrong. After all, we can’t all cook to Michelin standard every time! *wink wink*
For the Lamb
Ingredients, serves two
- 6-8 loin lamb chops
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 1 small bunch of fresh rosemary
- Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
- For the mint sauce
- 1tbs redcurrant jelly
- 3tbs malt vinegar
- 15g fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
First make the mint sauce. Melt the jelly over a low heat in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Leave to cool before adding the mint. Use the sauce as soon as possible (within an hour of making it) or the mint will discolour. Brush the meat lightly with olive oil. Season the fat and meat with salt and pepper.
Heat a dry griddle pan over a high heat until very hot. Put the chops in the pan fat side down and cook for four to five minutes until the fat renders and becomes crisp.
Lay the chops flat on one of their sides and strew the rosemary sprigs over the meat. Cook for another four to five minutes, basting frequently with the fat in the pan.
Turn the chops over and cook the other sides for the same length of time, basting as before.
Serve the chops on a bed of spinach, with the mint sauce in a small bowl.
Key to perfection: Rendering the fat in a griddle pan at the beginning of cooking will give the chops a crisp edge, then you can use the melted fat for basting the meat as it continues to cook. This will make the meat naturally moist and juicy, without the need for a lot of extra oil or fat.
For the spinach
Ingredients, serves two
- 500g bag baby spinach leaves
- 200 ml double cream
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 fat garlic clove, peeled and cut into thirds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Put the cream in a heavy saucepan with a few gratings of nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Simmer for 8-10 mins, stirring often, until you have about 4 tbsp left in the pan. Remove from heat.
- Spear the garlic on a fork. Spoon the oil into a wok or large deep frying pan and put over a high heat. When the oil is hot, toss in the spinach leaves and season lightly with salt. Then stir with the garlic fork until the spinach is wilted.
- Tip the contents of the pan into a colander and press the spinach with the fork to get rid of excess water. Tip the spinach back into pan and reheat, shaking the pan constantly.
- Pour the cream over the spinach and stir with the garlic fork until all the leaves are coated with cream. Check the seasoning then serve hot.
The finished thing – I served with peas and new potatoes and drizzled with the redcurrant minty sauce.