A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater: April's Thyme & Feta Lamb Chops

April 30, 2009 · 9 comments

in lamb,nigel slater

I’m a little  bummed about this month’s In the Kitchen with Nigel.  It’s not that this dish wasn’t great – it was. I mean, how can you go wrong with lamb?  And feta?  Umm…you can’t.  See, look? Mmm.


The reason I’m bummed is because, from the moment I picked this book up, I drooled over 3 recipes for baked goods I really, really wanted to try likerightthenandthere. All of them were in the month of April, and I just decided to wait since I was in sweets overload at the time, anyway.  Well, here we are in April, and I really want to make the  lemon-frosted pistachio cake, bramley apple shortcake, and orange & lemon cheesecake.   I WANT TO MAKE THEM ALL.  But, of course, my oven doesn’t work.  &*^$%(!!

I don’t even really know my neighbors but I seriously considered asking one of them if I could borrow their oven for a while. I think that, especially for the pistachio cake, the strange look they’d give me would be worth it.  

But, I guess those will have to wait. I am really glad I made this recipe, though. This isn’t out there, or complicated, or anything like that. In fact, replace the thyme with a little dried oregano and that’s pretty much how I always make my lamb chops. But just the simple addition of the feta makes these so great.  It gets nice and warm, the saltiness plays so well with the crispy chops and the lemon, and it just makes this dish a little more special. 

Of course, I did stray from the recipe a bit.  I didn’t grill these, for one, and opted to pan-fry them instead, being that it’s the one cooking method currently functioning.   The original recipe calls for loin chops, but I used frenched rib chops.  As you know, I moved recently, so I checked out a closer butcher, and this was all they had–not that I don’t enjoy rib chops.  But, my old butcher has a better selection so if I’m looking for anything a little different, I’ll have to just keep going there (which is fine by me – it’s still close and I love them!).

The original recipe also calls for mint and, well, I’m not a huge fan. It’s okay and all, but it’s not a favorite herb of mine to use in savory dishes.  This may sound surprising being that I’m Greek and all. I’ve found that the use of mint in Greek cuisine is quite regional, and my own family didn’t really use it much.  I would rather save it for mojitos, personally. :) But if you want to add it, add a chopped tablespoon to the feta-thyme mixture.

We had this with some bulgur and spinach. I added a little thyme (and toasted pine nuts) to the bulgur and lemon juice to the spinach, to echo the flavors in the chops.  This was a really great meal.  It always feels like a treat to eat lamb chops at home – especially during the week!

Thyme and Feta Lamb

Serves 2
Adapted from Nigel Slater

4-6 lamb chops 
Juice of half a lemon 
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 oz. feta, crumbled
salt and pepper 

In a small baking dish, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp. of thyme, garlic  and salt & pepper.  Add the lamb chops, coating with the mixture, and allow to marinate for an hour.

Preheat a pan over medium heat (or your grill. or your broiler) and add the chops, cooking about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness (and how done  you like them). Place onto a plate or platter. Meanwhile, mix together the feta and the remaining thyme. Top the chops with the feta-thyme mixture and a glug of olive oil to finish them off.

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