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When the weather is nice and balmy, all thoughts of cooking indoors leave my head in favour of my deck and the barbecue that holds a place of honour on it. For festive occasions, because my family is filled with Lamb Lovers (capitals intentional) one of our favourite things to prepare is as simple as it is elegant and delicious.
While lamb loin chops are the “usual” cut of choice for grilling, I’ve found we have great success with shoulder chops, a more economical and generous cut. And when legs of lamb are on sale, I’ll stock up on them but have my butcher cut them into inch thick chops for grilling instead of roasting whole.For eight shoulder chops:
the juice and some pulp of six lemons
half of one bunch of fresh rosemary
3 cloves of garlic minced
Combine the juice, pulp, rosemary (I find an easy way to remove the rosemary leaves from the stem is the run your fingers quickly in the opposite direction of the way they grow) and garlic. Combine well and add a few good grinds of fresh black pepper, or try white pepper for a nice flavour lift.
Add the lamb and make sure it’s well coated, then refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Remove from the refrigerator an hour or so before you want to grill them.
Heat your grill to high and place your chops on it, making sure not to crowd them. Grill to desired doneness, turning only once, for a nice chop that will melt in your mouth. For a wonderful aroma while cooking, and an extra infusion of rosemary to the lamb, I sometimes toss the other half of the rosemary sprigs directly onto the coals just before putting the lamb on the grill. The scent will draw everyone in the vicinity to your bbq.
While searching for a slightly different twist to vegetables on the grill, I remembered this potato dish that a girlfriend of mine used to make. I’ve altered it slightly. Joanne used to make it back when we were a lot younger and, presumably, healthier so she used scads of butter. For today’s more health conscious times, I’ve changed the butter to olive oil and reduced the amount considerably. Still a yummy dish though.
I know she’d kill me for using her childhood nickname here, but, I think it has a kind of “ring” to it, don’t you???
Quantities will vary according to how many you’re planning on feeding and the only change I would suggest is that if you find you have more than four or five people, you may want to divide the vegetables in half and make two packets instead of just one.
For each person, peel and slice into ¼” slices, 2 medium potatoes, 1 medium carrot, half a red pepper and half a small red onion. To the final mixture add 2 – 4 shallots thinly sliced and 4 – 6 cloves of garlic minced. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper, a dash of cayenne pepper and some fresh thyme sprigs. Coat generously with olive oil and combine to make sure everything is well coated.
Take a double thickness of heavy duty foil and securely wrap the vegetables in it, taking care to make a package that has a uniform thickness and isn’t more than about three inches thick. Cook on a hot bbq for about 45 minutes, turning a couple of times to avoid burning. Once they’re done they can keep warm on the warming rack of your bbq while you grill your meat.
The only thing your meal needs now is a salad and an appreciative audience.
Here’s hoping all your celebrations are festive and flavourful!!!