This is now one of our favorite meals. Just typing up this recipe is making my mouth water. I used pepitas to crust the lamb chops because I made these for the first time while my mother-in-law was visiting and she’s allergic to nuts. Pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) actually work really well in terms of flavor and texture, but this is also delicious made with pistachios or hazelnuts (which is more traditional) as a substitute.
Red palm oil (also called virgin palm oil) is one of the healthiest oils available, high in medium chain triglycerides (similar to coconut oil). It is also ridiculously high in tocotrienols, a very potent form of vitamin E, and vitamin A. It has a very distinctive flavor which works delightfully well with warm spices like coriander and cumin. If you can’t find red palm oil, then you can substitute your favorite cooking fat.
This is my second recipe using pomegranate molasses (see my Pomegranate Molasses-Glazed Salmon recipe here), which is quickly becoming one of my favorite new ingredients. It has a delightful tang that just can’t be replicated with anything else. Even though it’s a little drizzle over the top, this dish just wouldn’t be the same without it. If you don’t live near a Lebanese grocery store, you can buy pomegranate molasses from amazon (much cheaper per bottle if you buy 4).
- 4 lbs of lamb chops (rib or loin)
- 2 ½ Tbsp sesame seeds
- ½ cup raw unsalted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- 1 Tbsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1-3 Tbsp red palm oil (available from Tropical Traditions)
- Combine honey and pomegranate molasses. Set aside (and this is some tasty stuff, so you might actually want to double it).
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add pepitas and sesame seeds to the pan. Toast the seeds, shaking or stirring occasionally, until fragrant and starting to brown. Remove from heat and let cool. Grind in a food processor or Magic Bullet until the consistency of coarse sand.
- Combine ground toasted pepitas and sesame seeds with coriander cumin and salt. Place on a plate (for lamb chop coating) and set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp of palm oil to the pan. Fry the lamb chops in the palm oil in batches, 2 minutes per side (mine had were thick enough that they really had 4 sides) for medium-rare (more like 3 minutes per side for medium). You can adjust cooking time for the thickness of your chops and your desired doneness.
- As chops are cooked, set aside and cover with tinfoil or place in a warm oven to keep warm.
- Take each cooked lamb chop and dip into the ground pepita mixture on each side to give it a nice coating. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses mixture and serve.