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Simple Grilled Lamb Chops and Chickpeas in Star Anise and Date Masala

      The great challenge of home cooking is finding ways to bring new life to everyday family favorites.  At our house, this is a true mission since every meal is a candidate for this blog. We are constantly on the lookout for ways of making meals that are new and different.   One of the easiest ways of doing this is changing up the sides that go with, for instance, grilled lamb chops.
      Lamb chops are a staple at our house.  We buy trimmed loin lamb chops for an amazingly good price at Costco .  The last time I looked at our butcher’s,  1 lb. of them were the same price as the entire 10 pack that I’d bought there !  We divvy them up, use our Seal a Meal, then freeze them and pull them out and defrost them in the fridge.  They do not seem worse for wear and they are very juicy with the distinctive rich flavor that makes lamb so deliciously different from any other meat.  I marinate them in Worcestershire sauce then grill them under the broiler for 6 minutes a side. Perfection!  But last fall I was reading the New York Times Sunday magazine when I discovered a great accompaniment that really makes the simply grilled lamb chop a whole other dinner.

Vikram Vij and his wife Meeru Dhalwala
There’s always a line at Vij’s because they don’t take
          I’ve written about Vikram Vij and his eponymous restaurant in Vancouver BC in other posts.  It is truly a great place to enjoy what I’d call Indian-Canadian fusion cooking.  Vij’s serves Canadian short ribs and lamb chops—called lamb lollipops at the restaurant—in unmistakably Indian spiced recipes. The lollipops come in a rich fenugreek curry.  But the crux of the Times piece was the accompaniments. The battle cry: To allow home cooks to stick pretty much to their classic lamb chop recipe—in this case chops that are smeared with mashed garlic—and switch things up with the sides.  And the side that I want to tell you about is Vij’s take on Chickpeas. 
         If this isn’t the time of year for rich and robust flavors, when is?  These chickpeas are not all hard to make.    Even the ingredients are relatively easy to find—although black cardamom pods may be a challenge.  (I substituted green ones with no apparent side effects.)  It is amazing how much flavor this dish brings to the table.  And how it alters the character of the lamb chops. Suddenly, the dinner feels exotic, transporting.  And on one of these cold nights of this seemingly endless winter, I’m ready to leave town any way I can.  Here are the recipes:

3 thoughts on “Simple Grilled Lamb Chops and Chickpeas in Star Anise and Date Masala”

  • Hi from Albany, Western Australia.
    I'm a great fan of your blog and have cooked many of the recipes, including this one for dinner last night.
    The lamb chops and chickpeas were both so delicious, I thought it was about time I left a comment (my husband had the leftovers for lunch and said they were just as good).
    Many thanks and keep up the good work,

  • How wonderful to hear from you! I knew I had Australian readers and I am very happy that you enjoy the blog. I know it's counter-seasonal for you and I love hearing that you can use some of these 'winter' recipes during your summer. I love Australia and hope to return one day soon. All best to yoy, Michele and to your husband as well.

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