Dukkah-Crusted Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Molasses

I had my eyes opened to the deliciousness of lamb a year ago. Since then, I've been looking for different ways of preparing it. The usual suspects, rosemary and garlic, work wonderfully but I felt like making something else this time around. I was sold on this recipe as soon as I spotted the pistachios and pomegranate molasses in the ingredient list.

Dukkah is a nut and spice blend used as a dip or side dish in Egyptian cuisine. The ingredients that go into the blend vary but commonly contain coriander, cumin, sesame, salt and pepper. This recipe also calls for pistachios. It makes a nice crumbly crust with a spicy warmth that compliments the lamb really well.

Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that has been reduced until it's thick and syrupy. It's often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be purchased in stores, but isn't difficult to make from pomegranate juice. I used good ol' Pom, since pomegranates aren't in season right now. The pomegranate definitely brightens the dish up with its tartness.

I served the lamb with some couscous on the side. I think this will be my go-to couscous recipe from now on. The shallots and chicken broth give it a really rich "French Onion Soup"ish taste!

Recipe after the jump!

Dukkah-Crusted Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Molasses

Serves 8

1/2 cup unsalted natural pistachios, shelled
2 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon honey
16 small lamb rib chops, well trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place first 6 ingredients in food processor. Using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer dukkah to shallow bowl; set aside.
Whisk pomegranate molasses and honey in small bowl; set aside.
Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of lamb chops to pan. Cook to desired doneness, about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer lamb chops to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chops. Holding each chop by bone end, dip both sides of meat in dukkah to coat and transfer to platter. Drizzle honey mixture over chops and serve.

Pomegranate Molasses

Yields 1 cup

4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a 4-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup, approximately 70 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Zucchini

Yield 4 to 6 servings

2 medium zucchini, cubed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if chicken stock is already salty)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups couscous
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (pignolis)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Toss zucchini with olive oil to coat. Roast in 400 F oven until tender and slightly browned.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook them over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Stir in the couscous, cover the pan, and set aside for 10 minutes. Add the pine nuts, zucchini and coriander and fluff with a fork to combine. Serve hot. 

Lamb chop recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, December 2007
Pomegranate molasses recipe from Good Eats Fruit 10 from Outer Space
Couscous recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

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