Even with the boom of American food culture in the past decade (thank you Buzzfeed, Yelp, Instagram, and Food Network), lamb still does not hold a place in our country’s heart like it should. I could pull a Jimmy Fallon and ask 100 random people on the street if they have ever eaten lamb, and I think the majority would say either “Ew no” or “No, but Lamb Chops was my favorite creepy puppet show from the early 90’s.”
Lamb meets my three D criteria: decadent, drool-worthy, and damn tasty. It’s loaded in fat (the healthy omega-3 rich kind thanks to our friends Down Under perpetuation of grassfed animals), flavor, B vitamins, and selenium. All happy, nutritious, inflammation-fighting, and baby-making qualities we look for in our dinner.
I purchased a couple grass-fed bone-in lamb chops from Sprouts this weekend without a plan. I also happened to pick up dried Turkish figs (the big soft light brown ones) and dried cranberries. I had a leftover 1/2 head of cabbage in my fridge that needed to be used up, so I thought why not combine some of my favorite things into one dish. It can’t go wrong. And it certainly didn’t. I’ve spoken before about my introduction into cooking at age 15 spurred by an obsessive tendency to re-read my Food & Wine subscriptions over and over until I picked up on every nuance of a cooking skill I could from each recipe. When I cook for myself and my husband, I often imagine creating a recipe for F&W that would actually make it into their publication. Another recent meal I made would certainly make the cut: chicken thighs cooked using Jacques Pepin’s technique, garnished with lemon juice, fried capers, salt-cured olives, and fresh parsley. My horn is a-tootin’. And I don’t care. It’s my one skill.
This meal would be equally as good for date night, and quite a romantic one at that. There’s something about the rich smell and taste of seared lamb that is intoxicating and reminds me of cozying up in our favorite Chicago restaurant listening to jazz and dining on lamb and filet on a snowy night. One of my favorite memories of the city (which I miss terribly!) from our time there. Instead, I sweated my buns off in my Texas kitchen to prepare this meal for you and me, so I could at least pretend that eating at my countertop alone in silence was just as romantic.
If you enjoy wine, a bright and fruity red would go amazingly well with this meal! Cider lover? Try a sweet and light cider made from organic apples and nothing else.
Restaurant-worthy dinner on your table in 30 minutes!
Spiced Lamb with Caramelized Cabbage, Figs & Cranberries
- 1 1/2 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder chops, 1-inch thick (2 large chops)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
- 3 cups quartered and thinly sliced green cabbage
- 6 dried Turkish figs, quartered
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Remove chops from refrigerator to countertop 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Rub chops on all sides with mixture of sage, salt, garlic, and cinnamon until evenly coated.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
Sear chops for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium doneness. You want a crust on the bottom before you flip. Boneless chops will take shorter to cook; decrease cooking time by 1 minute per side if using boneless.
chops to a plate and rub with the sliced garlic clove on each side. You will see the garlic almost “melt” into the meat. Discard garlic clove. Let lamb
chops rest tented in foil while you prepare the cabbage.
In the same skillet, cook
cabbage in the rendered lamb
fat until caramelized and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. If not enough fat has been rendered to coat the cabbage, add one tablespoon to the pan prior to adding the cabbage.
Add figs, cranberries and a pinch of sea salt to the pan, cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the figs and cranberries have deepened in color and are tender. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and stir briefly to combine. Remove from heat.
divide cabbage mixture onto two plates and place lamb
chop on top.
You don’t see bacon and salmon together frequently in recipes, but I’m here to say that is a culinary mistake. Flaky salmon takes on a sweet, smokey flavor when crusted with chopped bacon, herbs, and a little lemon to round things out. This is a recipe easy enough to whip up on a weeknight but also special enough to serve to company!
Pulled Pork cooked in cranberries for a tangy, sweet, unique Instant Pot main that will be on the table in a little over an hour!
I’ve been hitting a funky wall with recipe development lately. All of my creativity is being driven towards work right now… and finding creative ways to not go insane via lack of sleep.
Confession: I totally did some super cool Tae Bo moves in a closed bathroom stall the other day to wake me up. Don’t ask me why I didn’t stick with a standard wall sit or push-up, but my body just wanted a good ol’ Billy Blanks full body workout.
I remember doing his VHS workout tapes in middle school and wondering why the women’s abs looked like paper folded into an accordion during their flamboyant high knees. It’s because they had somewhere between 3.5 and 4% body fat. Clearly they needed more pork in their life at the time.
I shared on IG this Sunday a picture of my Instant Pot full of broth and rice. Every Sunday night, I pressure cook a large bone-in pork roast with 1-2 cups of water, fresh garlic, dried oregano, and sea salt for about 80 minutes using the same technique as this recipe calls for.
Then I remove the pork, shred it as much as I can, return it to the Pot with 1 T apple cider vinegar for another 10-20 minutes of pressure cooking, and it absorbs all the brothy goodness that has been created via the pork bones. The shredded pork is always extra juicy and flavorful this way, and I’ll toss in a variety of dried spices like cinnamon or cloves, fresh garlic, lime juice, or coconut aminos.
The bones don’t get discarded. I eat the most crumbly pieces (and share with my dog Rafael) and then I save the rest of the bones for next week’s batch to add extra flavor.
I use the leftover broth to cook a large pot of rice for my husband for the week, of which I have been sneaking small bowls in light of my recent reintroduction. I forgot how much I enjoy a few spoons of rice, and it finally doesn’t mess with my digestion anymore!
I realize we’ve exited cranberry season by now, so feel free to use frozen cranberries in this recipe OR change it up and use another kind of fruit. Cherries? Blueberries? Plums? They would all be fantastic here!
Pressure Cooker Sweet & Tangy Pulled Pork
- 2 lbs boneless pork roast
- 1 tablespoon fat of choice
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 10 oz bone broth of choice
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs of choice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Set your Instant Pot to the sauté function. Pour fat of choice into the bottom of the pot and spread it around with a spatula. Salt pork generously on all sides and place in hot oil. Sear on each side, uncovered, for 2 minutes until lightly browned.
- Set the Instant Pot to the manual pressure cooker setting for 70 minutes. Add cranberries and broth to the bottom of pot, being sure not to "wash away" the salt off the pork. Sprinkle chopped herbs, apple cider vinegar and honey on top and close the lid. Cook undisturbed for full 70 minutes.
- Release the pressure using the release valve, remove the pork to a cutting board and use two fork to shred the pork. Place back in the Instant Pot, sprinkle with a pinch more sea salt, and set the manual option for another 10 minutes. This allows the shredded pork to absorb the broth, increasing it's moisture and flavor.
- Remove pork and cranberries from the liquid and place in a large serving dish. Toss with the cinnamon, garlic, and cloves and serve warm.
For Tacos: Serve in steamed kale, collard, or chard leaves with crispy sliced lettuce, avocado, cilantro, parsley, diced cucumber, jicama or beet matchsticks, coconut cream, and lime juice.
For Bowls: Serve with all the taco accoutrements over a bowl of cauliflower rice with guacamole & roasted zucchini.