After having disappeared mysteriously for a month (I got caught up with work amongst other things), the girl is back in the kitchen. This time, she is back experimenting with sumac and lamb chops. Some of you may be wondering “what the heck is sumac?”. So before I digress into the finer details of the recipe, let me give you a brief description of what sumac is, its origins, and more importantly, why you should have it in your spice cabinet!
Sumac is one of the most ancient spices that one should readily have at their disposal
The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. While it’s less common, the berries may also be sold whole. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish.
Sumac is a widely used, essential spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It’s used in everything from dry rubs, marinades, and dressing. But its best use is sprinkled over food before serving.
It’s great over vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish. Ground sumac also makes a nice, flavorful topping on dips like hummus.
Thanks to the recommendation from my Iranian friend (who I highly respect when it comes to the culinary scene), I’ve decided to experiment with sumac and grilled lamb chops tonight. Given how busy I am, in order to save time, I opted to create a quick and simple lemon pea mash as a side. The two complement each other harmoniously, both in flavours and in colours.
INGREDIENTS: (serves one)
- 2 lamb cutlets
- 2 teaspoons of sumac
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 knob of butter
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Sea salt
- Place cutlets in a non-reactive bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle sumac, garlic powder, and salt all over.
- Cook the peas in a saucepan of boiling water (~1.5 cups) and boil for roughly 10 minutes until soft. Stir in the knob of butter, the lemon juice, and a dash of sea salt.
3. With a potato masher or fork, lightly crush the pea mixture until it resembles a mash.
4. Meanwhile, coat a cast iron pan with olive oil and turn the hob to a high heat. Pan-fry the lamb chops 2-3 minutes on both sides depending on how well done you like your lamb. Cover with foil and set aside for 5 minutes to rest.