Black Cherry and Black Pepper Lamb Chops

Valentine's Day Dinner
I went looking for Valentine’s Day recipes last week, and I found a delicious looking recipe for lamb with some kind of jammy sauce on Food Network. I remembered a few months ago that Ted’s mom and I went to an event at Elizabeth Spencer Winery, they had an appetizer of lamb chops in a pomegranate jelly sauce that was absolutely delicious. So I decided to make it, but instead of buying a special black cherry jam, I used leftover blackberry/pomegranate jam from the amazing Christmas cookies I made a few months ago. Results? de-li-cious. If you like lamb, this is a wonderful dish. The risotto that went with it was lovely. Not the best I’ve ever had, but not gloppy, which sometimes happens when I try to make risotto. It was a lovely dinner. Like the brownie with a little powdered sugar heart for dessert? Yummy also.

Recipe by Rachael Ray, found here.

Black Cherry and Black Pepper Lamb Chops with Sweet Pea Risotto
Ingredients

1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus some for drizzling
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup peas, defrosted
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish (I omitted the mint and parsley, though I did buy them. Lame.)
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 loin lamb chops, each 1 1/2 inches thick
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup black cherry all fruit preserves (or blackberry/pomegranate jam, whatever floats your boat)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, eyeball it in your palm
Salt

Directions

Place the stock in a small pot and warm it up over medium low heat.

Place an oven rack 8 inches from broiler and preheat broiler to high.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 turn of the pan, with a tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium to medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add onions and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes the add Arborio and cook a minute more. Add wine and cook it all away, 1 minute. Add a few ladles of warm broth and let that cook off, stirring occasionally. The risotto will take 22 minutes to cook. Add a ladle of broth from time to time until risotto is starchy, creamy and cooked to al dente. Add peas about 2 minutes before serving. Add in cheese, chopped mint and parsley just before serving.

When the risotto is half-cooked, 10 minutes from being done, drizzle the chops with extra-virgin olive oil and arrange on a slotted broiler plan. Place chops in oven under hot broiler and cook 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare. Place a tiny pan on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and shallots to the pan. Cook shallots 2 minutes then add the preserves and whisk them together with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Heat to a bubble then remove from heat and add remaining pat of butter. Whisk butter into sauce.

Season the risotto with salt to taste. Place a generous serving of risotto into shallow dinner plates. Arrange 2 chops on each plate alongside the risotto and drizzle the black cherry pepper glaze over the chops and garnish plates with extra sprigs of mint.