Easter Cooking with Coffee
Christmas, Thanksgiving and the summer barbeque holidays were already well established by the time I married my husband, so I got stuck with Easter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jealous, I actually rather enjoy it. We have a huge yard so we always have a great Easter Egg Hunt for the kids and Easter isn’t a holiday with a standard menu. Each year I get to do something different. Oh sure, I’ve done a few glazed hams but the last few years I’ve changed it up and switched to lamb.
I starting looking for new recipes early this year, and as always, I settled on a caffeinated dish! It is a little labor intensive and can be a little expensive for the perfect cut of lamb chops, but you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!
Coffee Marinated Lamb Chops
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely ground espresso beans
- ¼ cup garlic infused olive oil
- 1/3 cup Pinot Noir (my fav is Italy’s Canaletto Pinot Noir, if you can get a 2006 or earlier bottle that is the best)
- ¼ teaspoon whole peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 8 extra thick lamb loin chops
- 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
- 1 cup coarsely chopped shitake or chanterelle mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 ½ cups Pinot Noir (you might want to buy more than one bottle…for serving with the meal of course)
- 1 long vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups lamb or chicken stock
- ¼ cup freshly brewed espresso
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon room temperature butter
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mint, ground espresso, olive oil, and wine. Next, grind the spices by hand using a mortar and pestle or a spice or coffee grinder dedicated to spices. Grind together all the peppercorns, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, rosemary, and salt. Add the spices to coffee/wine/oil mixture and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
Place the lamb chops in a large glass baking dish, taking care not to have them touch one another. Then pour the marinade over them, rubbing thoroughly on the top, bottom and sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator at least three or four hours. When ready to cook, remove the dish, and wipe off most of the marinade with paper towels.
To cook this dish, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan or iron skillet and when it is hot, sauté the mushrooms and shallots, about 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender; the mushrooms will give off their moisture and the shallots will be opaque. Add the wine, vanilla bean, and mint. Bring this mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and heat until the amount of the liquid is reduced in half. Stir in the stock, brewed espresso, and honey and continue to simmer until that mixture is reduced again by half. With tongs, remove the vanilla bean and discard it. If you like a thicker sauce, add cornstarch to thicken, whisking in a little at a time to avoid lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm while you grill the chops.
Heat your grill and carefully cook the chops for 7 to 8 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer registers 125°F. They will be pink. Place the cooked chops on a pre-warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes as the meat continues to cook and the juices will redistribute throughout the chops.
To plate, place two chops on a plate, top with the mushroom/coffee sauce and garnish, as desired, with fresh mint sprigs. Serve immediately.
Enjoy your Coffee Twist!