Za'atar Braised

Lamb Shoulder Chops

with Minted Chickpeas 

This recipe, using lamb shoulder chops, was inspired by the food of Lebanon. It is one of the countries that is very high indeed on my list of countries I still want to visit and eating this combination of braised lamb with pomegranates, chickpeas and za’atar, makes me even more determined to visit. It is even better when served with a Yogurt, Cucumber & Mint Tahini sauce.

Za'atar Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops with Minted Chickpeas Recipe

(Serves About 4-6)

Ingredients

For the Lamb Chops:

  • 4 x 4-oz Lamb Shoulder Chops

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt 

  • 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper 

  • 2 Teaspoons Za’atar Spice

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 White Onion (Thinly Sliced)

  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 1/8 Cup Pomegranate Molasses

  • 2 Cups Beef Stock

 

For the Chickpeas:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (For Frying)

  • 1 Large White Onion (Sliced)

  • Kosher Salt (To Taste)

  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 1 Teaspoon Za’atar

  • 1 x 14oz Can Chopped Tomatoes

  • 1 Cup Lamb Braising Stock (See Instructions for the Lamb Chops)

  • 2 x 14-oz Cans Chickpeas (Drained and Rinsed)

  • ¼ Cup Fresh Mint (Finely Chopped)

 

For the Garnish:

  • ½ Lemon (Zest and Juice)

  • ¼ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley (Finely Chopped)

  • Yogurt, Cucumber & Mint Tahini Sauce (See Recipe HERE)
  • ¼ Cup Pomegranate Seeds

Instructions

For the Lamb Chops:

  1. In a large bowl, season the lamb chops with salt and pepper, and za'atar.

  2. Rub the chops with olive oil.

  3. Warm a large pan to medium heat and add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom. 

  4. Place in the lamb chops sear on all sides and remove from the pan.

  5. Add in the onion slices and cook for 2-3 minutes or until translucent and golden.

  6. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

  7. Add in the pomegranate molasses and cook for 1 minute.

  8. Place the chops back in the pan and add the beef stock.

  9. Place a lid on the pan and simmer until the lamb chops are tender to the prod of a fork. This usually takes around 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops.

  10. When the chops are ready remove from the pan.

  11. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest.

  12. Strain the stock and reserve 1 cup for the chickpeas. (You can freeze the rest.)

 

For the Chickpeas:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a wide frying pan.

  2. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

  4. Add the za’atar and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  6. (You can do all of the above while the lamb is braising.)

  7. Once you have the lamb braising stock, add it to the tomato/onion mixture.

  8. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.

  9. Add the chickpeas and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes

  10. Remove from the heat and add the fresh mint.

  11. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Lay the chickpeas on a serving platter.

  2. Place the lamb chops on top of the chickpeas.

  3. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and the zest.

  4. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

  5. Drizzle the tahini sauce across the lamb chops.

  6. Top with pomegranate seeds.