Lamb Chops and Three Chili Chutney

The hubbz┬áand I both love lamb, but I don’t have a lot of experience with it. Actually, this was my 2nd venture into lamb world. I love the mildly gamey taste of it and I especially love how easy it is to prepare. These were a hit served with the Calabacitas.

Grilled Lamb Chops

For this dish I kept the lamb pretty simple. It was marinated with crushed garlic, sea salt & black pepper, I made a little rub of it with a bit of extra virgin  olive oil. Marinate for how long? As short as 10 minutes or as long as a few hours like I did here. Remember this was part of the 24, 24, 24 event, so I did as much prep work as possible.

Once ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 375° and heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil and seared the chops on all sides. Once browned, leave them in the skillet and place them in the oven, allowing them to roast for about 15 minutes for rare lambs.

Remove and allow them to rest at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the chutney and Calabacitas.

Three Chili Chutney

1 poblano peppers, roasted
2 Anaheim or Hatch peppers, roasted
1 canned chipotle chile, seeded & minced
1 granny smith apple, unpeeled & diced
1/2 cp sherry vinegar
1/2 cp water
1/2 cp light brown sugar
1/4 cp granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Roast the poblanos on a grill or under a broiler. After they have cooled, peel off the charred skin, seed and dice.

Combine the chilies with the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a moderately low heat for about 25 minutes (until the apple is tender and most of the liquid is evaporated).

Cook until the apples are tender and the chutney has thickened.

Pop, pop, Jalape├▒o Poppers

Have you had these? They’re very popular in Houston, found in most Tex-Mex restaurant menus or at parties. I’ve had them over the years, but I’ve never been able to eat them with careless abandon. For one thing, there’s the heat. Often times they’re simply too hot for me, whether they don’t get all the seeds and veins out or if┬ábecause it is┬áan especially hot pepper. I just can’t handle too many of them. The other thing is sometimes it tastes like I’m eating a raw green pepper, which isn’t one of my favorite flavors. I managed to correct both these factors.

Nonetheless, I was speaking with a friend about a new popper recipe someone shared with her and about our upcoming holiday luncheon and how anxious we were about enjoying another very popular appetizer, shrimp brochette.  Usually for the shrimp brochette they take shrimp and slit it, add a slice of jalapeño, Monterrey Jack, then its wrapped in bacon and grilled. This is when the muse hit me. Inside out. Stuff the peppers with shrimp and cheese, wrap in bacon. Yeah! And that, my friends, is what I did!

Shrimp Jalapeño Poppers
12 medium jalape├▒os
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/4 cp grated cheese, such as Gouda or Bleu
1/4 tsp Herbs d’Provence
1/4 cp cooked bacon, crumbled
Black pepper, to taste
6 slices thick bacon, halved

Preparing the jalape├▒os: Let me start by telling you that you should be respectful when handling any type of hot pepper. I don’t think gloves are necessary for jalape├▒os, but try to avoid touching your face or skin until you’ve washed the oil off your hands. In this case I slit the jalape├▒os lengthwise, keeping the stems in place. They look cuter that way.┬á Once you’ve slit them, use a small pairing knife to cut out the seed pod and to scrape out the veins. Rinse them in cool water to wash away any seeds that may be left behind.

Now, here’s something I did to counteract the heat and rawness of the peppers. I blanched them.

Notice the change in color after blanching

Take a medium pot and fill it with water, add a bit of salt and bring it to a boil. Add the cleaned peppers and turn off the heat. Leave the peppers in the water for about 3 minutes, drain and submerge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set them over a towel to soak any water that may be left behind. Set aside.

 

For the filling: I used medium-sized shrimp, (14-16 count) this size will be large enough to keep it from overcooking, but you could use smaller ones and not chop them. Chop the shrimp coarsely (I think I ended up with about 4 pieces from each shrimp). Add the cheeses, bacon, pepper, Herbs d’Provence and mix until well incorporated.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 400┬░. Take the halved bacon slices and stretch them out a bit to make them uniform in thickness. Stuff the bottom of each pepper with about 1 tbsp of the filling, close the top on in, wrap with bacon. Secure the bacon with toothpicks. Place the poppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bacon is golden brown.

You’re done!