Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lamb loin chops with reduced red wine sauce with garlic and mint flavor 子羊肉の赤ワインソース

Did I tell you my wife likes lamb very much. Although lamb is not a popular meat in Japan (especially in the old days when I lived there), it was widely enjoyed by Hokkaidian 北海道人. The dish is called "Genghis Khan" nabe or "Jingisukan-nabe"*.  This may be because livestock production including dairy and raising sheep is very big in Hokkaido. (You may recall the famous sheep hill in Sapporo). 

One week end, we cooked loin chops of lamb which may not be the most popular cut of lamb but the meat is tender and tasty. Since I had a bottle of Bordeaux which did not meet our lowest drinkability standard, I also made reduced red wine sauce with garlic and mint.
I served this with a side of baked greenbeans and parmesan couscous (from the box, just add chicken broth, a pat of butter. When it comes to a boil, add couscous, remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork).

I sliced garlic cloves (3-4). I fried the garlic in olive oil (2 tbs) in low heat until the garlic was fragrant, slightly browned, and the garlic flavor transfered to the oil. I seasoned the lamb loin chops (4) with salt and pepper. Using the garlic infused oil, I seasoned and browned both sides finishing them in 350F oven for 5-8 minutes.

I removed the meat and set it aside on the plate loosely covered with aluminum foil. While the meat was resting, I made a sauce. I blotted the excess oil from the pan using a paper towel and put the pan back on the medium flame. I deglazed it with red wine (happend to be Bordeaux, about 1/2 cup) and added back the garlic. After it reduced in half, I added Balsamic vinegar (1 tbs) and further reduced the mixture (final amount was just coating the bottom of the pan). I added back any juice accumulated in the plate where the lamb chops were resting.  Since I realized I am out of fresh mint, I just added dried mint leaves (1/2 tsp).

A good Austrarian shiraz (maybe MollyDooker BlueEyed boy) is a good match but I think we had this with California Cab (I do not remember which one).

* The old Sapporo beer brewery was converted into a cavernous "beer garden" with all-you-can-eat Jingiskan grill. (Now, I learned that it was fruther converted into a beer museum with an adjacent restaurants). Since I knew my wife liked lamb, I took her there. Jungiskan nabe is a convex cast iron grill with ridges and grooves on which rolled and thinly sliced mutton/lamb is grilled. 
Since the Japanese, in general, do not like the true flavor of mutton or lamb, they do everything and anything to cover it up with either strong marinades (before cooking) or dipping sauce after cooking--or both. As a result, my wife's review of the dish was, "You say this is made of lamb? I couldn't tell, all I tasted was soysauce". 

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