Monday, May 14, 2012

Lamb Chops with Pistachio and Mint Pesto

Two weeks of hard work, respectable clothing and no alcohol in Bangladesh left me extremely excited to get back to Bangkok this weekend. All the more so because my friends had bought me a ticket to a boat party that would cruise us up and down the Chao Phraya river all night.

And as well as all the cocktails, I also managed to take in some of the sites by night, like this one.

Wat Arun, even more beautiful by night

It was so much fun and we partied until it docked at 3am.

Boat party fun

On Sunday morning however, I didn't feel quite so awesome. There are two ways to deal with a hangover. Option one is to lie down and succumb to its almighty power, feeding it greasy, salty food. The other is to stare it bravely in the face and say “No. I will not eat bad food. And you will not take my Sunday”. I was brave and went for the latter. I forced myself into the bright sunlight for a swim, during which I came up with this recipe. I set the table and served this up with a nice glass of merlot.

Mint and pistachio are a match made in heaven. The pesto is so rich and creamy. I served it with spiced roast potatoes and coriander and lime aubergines. The lime in aubergines gives some acidity and the roast potatoes seem so happy in amongst it all. I also served up a little yoghurt with mint on the side.

Serves: 2 hungry people
Rating: A little effort
Time: 1hr 30 mins


6 lamb chops (3 per person. Remove any excess fat and trim the meat from the ends of the bones)

For the pistachio and mint pesto:
100g shelled pistachios (about 180g with shells on)
1 bunch mint (about 20 g), leaves only
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the aubergines:

1 large aubergine (300g)
2tbsp olive oil for cooking
Salt & pepper
Juice 1 limes
Small bunch (10g) fresh coriander
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt

For the potatoes:
500g potatoes
Generous slug of olive oil
½ tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp chilli flakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel the potatoes with cut them so they’re all an even-size. Rinse them in cold water to get rid of excess starch. Put them in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 6 to 7 mins, so that they’re parboiled.
  3. While they are boiling, dice the aubergine into small, evenly-sized cubes. Put in a baking dish with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir well and put in the hot oven to cook for about 20mins or until soft, taking out to stir occasionally.
  4. Back to the potatoes. Once parboiled, drain and leave them to steam dry for 3 minutes. Put them back in the pan, put the lid on and give it a good shake. This helps increase the surface area of the potatoes and so will make them crispier. Transfer to a baking tray and add the olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper, and the turmeric and chilli flakes. Make sure they are all evenly coated with oil and seasoning. Put your potatoes in the hot oven and cook for 30 minutes until lightly golden and three quarters cooked.  
  5. Remove the aubergines from the oven when done and transfer to a small dish and allow to cool.
  6. Now for the pesto. In a blender or mortar and pestle, grind the pistachios until they are very fine. Then add the mint leaves, cumin, salt and pepper and olive oil. Add 2-3 tbsp water and blend/grind until you have a fine paste. Add a little more water if needed so that you have a paste that mixes well.
  7. Cover the lamb chops with a generous coating of the pesto on both sides.
  8. Next make the dressing for the aubergines. Finely chop the coriander leaves. Add the olive oil, lime juice, sugar and salt. Pour all over the aubergines and leave to marinate.
  9. Back to the potatoes. When they have roasted for 30 minutes, gently squash each potato with a potato masher to once again increase the surface area. Return them to the oven to cook for a further 30 minutes until really crispy.
  10. When the potatoes are almost done, set the grill to a high temperature. Place the lamb chops under the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes on either side (for medium – cook for another minute or two on each side for well-done). They should be nicely browned but still a little pink in the middle.
  11. When the chops are done, remove from the heat and allow to rest for a minute. Serve up with the potatoes and aubergines.

Cooking ahead? You can make the aubergines several hours or even the night before and leave in the fridge to marinate. The pesto can also be prepared the day before and kept in an air-tight container in the fridge.


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  2. Hi, oh, this looks wonderful. I have a really strong urge to pinch that yummy piece of lamb off the plate! Great post.