Lamb is traditionally on the menu on Easter. The consumption of lamb on this holiday can be traced back to the first Passover seder. However, Christians also adopted lamb for their holy day, likely as a representation and remembrance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross. Jesus often is called the “Lamb of God.” Sacrificial lambs were first referenced in the Old Testament, and Christ exemplified the ultimate sacrificial lamb when he gave up His life for His people’s sins.
Even though lamb roasts typically can be found on Easter tables, this year’s hosts and hostesses may want to offer something slightly different. “American Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Pan-Roasted Lemony Asparagus” puts spring flavors on display for this special gathering. Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of Blue Bowl Recipes and the American Lamb Board.
American Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Pan-Roasted Lemony Asparagus
For the Lemon Roasted Asparagus
2 pounds fresh asparagus
4 large cloves garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large lemons
For the Lamb Chops
8 medium American lamb loin chops
6 large cloves garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Generous pinch black pepper
11⁄2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons salted butter
Preparation: Mix together all the lamb ingredients in a large container. Add the lamb chops and rub with the marinade mixture. Secure the lid and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before cooking. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before cooking.
Roast the asparagus: Preheat oven to 400 F. Rinse, dry and trim the ends of your asparagus. Slice one of the lemons into thin slices. Toss the asparagus, all the asparagus ingredients and a squeeze of lemon juice from the second lemon. Divide between two parchment-paper lined baking sheets. Roast for 8 to 13 minutes, depending on how tender you want the asparagus to be.
Cook the lamb chops: While the asparagus roasts, cook your lamb. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add four of the lamb chops at a time, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until there’s a nice dark crust on the bottom. Flip, and repeat, using a meat thermometer to check for doneness. We’re looking for 145 F for medium rare chops, 160 for medium and 170 for well done. Make sure to stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and stick it halfway through the meat — don’t let it touch any bones or the pan, for an accurate reading.
Once they’re done, set aside on a clean plate and cover with foil for 3 minutes to keep warm.
Serve the lemony asparagus and lamb together over rice or couscous, if desired.