Costillitas de cordero at horno (baked baby lamb chops)

The South American table, 478pp.
by Maris Baez Kijac
The Harvard Common Press, Boston, 2003
Cooking on page 232

We’re heading to South America for another overland trip. You can follow our antics on my travel blog.

So I thought it was time to test-drive some South American recipes. This is another book I bought ages ago—second-hand and on spec. I knew nothing about it and hadn’t been searching for it, but was tempted by the array of delicious recipes. Very pleased to find it has good reviews.

It was in as-new condition when I bought it, but now it’s liberally decorated with food splotches. New spots already adorn page 232, where we are today. It’s an Argentinean party dish. Page 32 and 132 don’t have recipes.

Costillitas de cordero at horno (baked baby lamb chops)

Ingredients
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces fresh, firm mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon day-old breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
8 baby lamb chops

Method
In a heavy skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring a few times, until lightly coloured. Stir in 1/2 cup of the wine, the tomato paste, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and stir in the breadcrumbs and parsley. Set aside to cool. This can be done the day before, covered and refrigerated.

Trim the fat from around the chops, if desired, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium–high heat. Add the chops, without crowding them, and quickly brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Drain the fat from the skillet, pour in the remaining 1/2-cup wine and deglaze the pan over low heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spread the mushroom mixture in a shallow ovenproof dish large enough to hold the chops in a single layer. Lay the chops on top of the mushrooms. Drizzle the juices over the chops, cover with aluminium foil, and bake until done, about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness. They should be pink in the center, unless you or your guests want them well done. If well-done chops are desired, increase the baking time by 5 minutes.

To serve, place 2 lamb chops on each dinner plate. Stir the mushroom mixture well and top each chop with about 1 tablespoon of it.

How it played out
Except for cutting back a bit on the oil and making all nine chops that were in the butcher’s pack, I followed this recipe. Being righteous, I trimmed the fat off each chop too.

I always wonder about references to shallots. Do they mean spring onions, green onions, scallions or eschalots? I used green onions (scallions).

Verdict
Lovely dish. So nice that the first step can be made ahead. I’ll keep that in mind for busy weeks. Served with a variety of sides, including spinach korma, another page-32 recipe that I’ll publish soon.

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About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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4 Responses to Costillitas de cordero at horno (baked baby lamb chops)

  1. Susan says:

    I have pork chops in my freezer….

  2. Robert Henderson says:

    spring onions, green onions, scallions or eschalots? – Up in Queensland, what we call shallots are really spring onions – eg long things that look a bit like very small leeks eg about as thick as a little finger, white at the bottom and green at the top. The green bit is what most people chop up to use spinkled over their dish, or in a stir fry. Eschallots (shallots) are looking like smallish onions, but not round like an onion. I’m not sure what scallions or green onions are. Minced shallots are very often used in French sauces. I’m not really sure what different in reality a minced onion and minced shallots would be. One is much cheaper.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Thanks Robert. I always wonder what cookery books mean. But I think of and use shallots and eschallots the ways you describe. Green onions and scallions are the American references to shallots.

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