Updated: Nov 2, 2020
Every morning I like to go for a run. And today was no exception. Every street I run on is unique and beautiful in its own way. Many flowers bloom here pretty much year-round, but this time of year is particularly beautiful. I find running to be a good way to clear my head and do some planning for the day. While I was thinking about what to have for dinner, I saw a beautiful juniper berry tree absolutely covered with little green berries. I thought, "Wow, it's so cool that this tree can grow in so many regions in both hot and cold weather."
Those who know me well have probably noticed that I love spices. I own many kinds from around the world. When my friends travel, they love to bring me spices from their latest trip. I’m always getting excited to see and smell something that's new to me. I love to make my own spice mixes when needed, and I never buy pre-made mixes.
I remember my first trip to New York City. We stayed in a nice hotel in Manhattan, and while we were exploring the city we found an Indian spice store. I went in and didn’t leave until my big grocery bag was full of goodies. My mother-in-law looked at me, and you could tell she was shocked. She asked,“What are you going to do with this?”I just laughed, and my husband said, "Mom, it's like jewelry for her."
So juniper berries are one of those many spices I have. I love to pair them with lamb or venison. They are used to mellow the gaminess of meat, but, just like any spice, they have some health benefits for humans as well. Juniper berries have been used to treat inflammatory diseases and other infections such as the common cold, cough, or bronchitis among other illnesses.
So when I saw those juniper berries, I knew we would be eating juniper berries for dinner. Not by themselves of course! I decided to make juniper berry and garlic-rubbed lamb chops with carrots. These carrots have passed the kid-test, and my boys absolutely love them! These lamb chops are simple but delicious. Tender, juicy, and loaded with rich flavor! I serve them with sautéed carrots and a refreshing tzatziki sauce. Leaving the meat bone in always provides maximum flavor for only having to do a little prep work. I promise you'll like it!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Inactive time: 30-60 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
2 pounds of lamb chops
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon juniper berries, whole
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pounds of carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Few sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dry
1. To make the rub, peel the garlic and chop it.
2. Crush the juniper berries and add salt, black pepper, and garlic.
3. Add the parsley and olive oil, then mix it all together.
4. Wash your meat and dry it with a paper towel.
5. Rub the meat with the spice-garlic mixture. Make sure each piece is covered evenly.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least half hour.
7. While the meat is resting, peel and slice the carrots.
8. On medium-low heat, add olive oil and butter to a heavy-bottom frying pan and let it melt.
9. Add your carrots and spices, then stir it all together.
10. Let everything cook uncovered for 5-6 minutes, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. Check and make sure is there enough liquid, so the meat won't burn, and then let it cook another 10 minutes.
11. Add a little more water if necessary.
12. While the carrots are cooking, make tzatziki sauce to put on the side (recipe below).
13. To cook the lamb chops, heat up the grill or a cast iron pan, before you place the meat on the cooking surface. Once the grill or pan is hot, put the meat on it and cook 5-7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the meat. To check the doneness, use a thermometer. 135F is rare and 145F is medium–well done.
16. Move the meat to your serving platter, and cover it with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes before enjoying with a glass of red wine.
It's a good idea to cook lamb chops on a cast iron pan. You also want to make sure the pan or grill is well-heated before starting to cook the meat. A well-heated pan will provide a great sizzle and seal all the juices in. And the brown surface gives the best-tasting meat.
I recommend serving the chops with some kind of rice or mashed potato to catch the pools of sauce. Keep an eye out for my wonderful Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes recipe coming soon for something a little different.
Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients
1 cup whole milk yogurt
½ English cucumber
1 tablespoon minced mint
1 teaspoon salt
Tzatziki Sauce Directions
1. Grate the cucumber, then add salt.
2. Place the cucumber mixture in a colander so all the juice will be drained.
3. Once you've drained the cucumbers, add the yogurt and minced mint.
4. Mix it well, then refrigerate it until you're ready to serve.
P.S. Remember, if you never tried to cook yourself lamb, do it! Life is too short to not try new things.
I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.