Life seems to be busier than usual…or maybe it’s just me? I guess every season has it’s crazy days, but I honestly can’t believe that Halloween is tomorrow. How did that happen? I keep going back to my calendar to check if it’s true, because if it is then that means we’re diving head-first into the holiday season in just a few days and I’m simply not ready! But that’s why I have recipes like this lamb with roasted root vegetables, which I made last week (or was it the week before?) See what it mean? In any case, this meal will probably show up on the dinner table again next week, and then three or four times more before Christmas because it’s one of the kids’ favourites – and because the recipe holds the prestigious honour of being one that I can rely on in a pinch. And recipes that give me at least a little time back are the ones I value most.
It feels so luxurious on a busy weeknight to have a beautiful piece of lamb, draped in a smooth, buttery white wine sauce, placed in front of you. The roasted vegetables couldn’t be easier – I cook them together but serve them separately – and they make the house smell divine. When I make this everyone feels like they’re being spoiled and no one has to know that it took only 20 minutes. In fact, once I get everything in the oven I like to pour myself a glass of the same Chardonnay I use in the sauce, lean back on the counter and do absolutely nothing while the oven does all the work. Perhaps, secretly, that’s my favourite thing about this recipe.
Tarragon and Dijon mustard is a classic combination that’s often used on chicken. I love to use it on lamb, too. The delicate flavour of tarragon reminds me a little of licorice and highlights the lamb perfectly. If you’re making the root vegetables, start them before the lamb, as they take just a little longer to cook.
Dijon & Tarragon Lamb Chops
This recipe serves six, but can be easily be increased or decreased. I generally make just three chops for the kids and myself during the week. If you don’t have time to let the lamb marinate in the refrigerator you can rub it with the mustard mixture and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Also, the lamb can be frozen in the marinade, then simply defrosted in the refrigerator before cooking. This recipe is made with boneless loin or sirloin chops. If you have bone-in chops, cook for an additional 4 – 5 minutes. This marinade is very versatile – I’ve used it on lamb chops, steaks and even as a rub for a whole leg of lamb.
6 boneless lamb loin or sirloin chops
2 TBSP smooth Dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
2 TBSP chopped tarragon (divided)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Chardonnay, or dry white wine
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP butter
salt and pepper
Mix the Dijon, balsamic, olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, the garlic and salt & pepper together in a small bowl. Pat the lamb dry and rub the mustard mixture evenly over the chops. Place in a resealable plastic bag and press the air out. Refrigerate for several hours (or freeze immediately for future use.)
Take the lamb out of the fridge a few minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). If you’re making the vegetables, prepare them and put them in the oven before starting on the lamb.
Heat a large, oven-safe skillet on medium heat until hot. Add a little olive oil to the pan and sear the chops until brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 5 – 6 minutes, or until done to your liking.
Remove the lamb to a platter and keep warm. Pour the fat from the skillet and place the skillet back on the heat. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer, reducing slightly and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the broth and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and add the remaining tarragon, then whisk in the butter until melted and velvety.
Pour the sauce over the lamb and serve with the root vegetables.
Oven-Roasted Potatoes and Herbed Carrots
24 oz. small white potatoes, washed and quartered or halved (depending on size)
16 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch long sticks
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the potatoes on one end of the pan and the carrots on the other. Drizzle half the oil on the potatoes and the other half on the carrots. Toss the potatoes with the paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the carrots with the herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast for 20 minutes.