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American Lamb


For quite some time now, the only lamb I've been able to buy is from New Zealand. Thanks to Costco, it's cheap and sold in bulk (good for feeding my family). The only downside is that I never find it all that flavorful. I guess that's fine if you don't like the taste of lamb, but then you should just buy beef...

A friend sent me eight lamb loin chops from an American lamb farmer, and I was eager to try them. After a quick marinade in garlic, olive oil and a hit of balsamic vinegar, I seared them and finished them in the oven. They were tender, succulent and lamb-y (not a baaaad thing, in my book). It was like the lamb of my childhood—packed with flavor, not like the overbred bland lamb I've grown accustomed to.  

Here's my easy recipe:

8 lamb loin chops, (preferably American), about 1 1/2-inches thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the lamb with the garlic, rosemary, vinegar, 1/4 cup of the oil and very generous pinches of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain the lamb, reserving the marinade. Heat the remaining oil in a large ovenproof skillet until shimmering. Add the lamb and cook until browned all over, about 6 minutes, turning once. Add the marinade, transfer to the oven and roast for about 5 minutes longer for medium-cooked lamb. 

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