Lamb Loin Chops with Red Wine Pan Sauce with Cumin and Chiles

Toasty cumin and piquant chiles, offset with fresh cilantro and lime zest, balance bold red wine in this quick pan sauce. The technique is simple: this recipe starts with searing bone-in lamb chops to perfection – a step that also creates the rich drippings that will become the basis for the red wine sauce. After searing the meat, sweat chile and garlic in the meat drippings before deglazing with wine, then add stock, enrich the sauce with butter, and finish it with fresh aromatics. The rich flavor of lamb is delicious here, but you can substitute cuts of beef, such as skirt steak, hanger steak or filet mignon, which would work just as well with the red wine-based sauce. To make this pan sauce with other proteins, start from step 2, working with 1 tablespoon of reserved drippings, and proceed to build the red wine sauce as written. 

Lamb Loin Chops with Red Wine Pan Sauce with Cumin and Chiles
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver
Total Time:
15 mins


  • 8 (1/2-inch-thick) lamb loin chops (about 2 pounds, fatty tips trimmed)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed)

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped red Fresno chile or jalapeño chile (from 1 medium [3/4 oz.] chile, seeded if desired)

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • cup bold red wine (such as Rioja or Bordeaux)

  • 1 cup beef stock or lower-sodium beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice (from 1 lime)


  1. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a very large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the lamb chops and cook over moderately high heat until the chops are browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops and cook until the chops are browned, about 2 minutes longer for medium meat. Transfer the chops to plates and tent to keep warm. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of drippings.

  2. Heat reserved drippings in skillet over medium-high. Add chile and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 20 seconds. Add cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add wine (mixture will immediately come to a simmer). Simmer over medium-high, stirring occasionally to loosen browned bits on bottom of skillet, until liquid has reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add stock; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reduced to about 3/4 cup and just barely coats the back of a spoon, 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add butter to mixture, stirring until just melted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with lamb chops.

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