Sri Lankan Curry Lamb Loin Chops with Coconut Risotto

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As a caterer in South Florida, I have the pleasure of meeting so many different people. What I love most about those encounters is the reason behind why they occur. Food. Since well before I began sharing my recipes, I always believed in the power of a meal. I grew up witnessing it first-hand through my grandmother and her ability to bring so much of my extended family together multiple times a year. The centerpiece at each of those gatherings was always the culinary spread she spent days in her kitchen preparing. And it remains the biggest inspiration for what I do.

I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady by the name of Anne-Maree during a corporate event I catered a few months ago at my husband’s place of work. As we began talking about the spread I produced for the occasion, I could see she carried a passion for cooking that was so similar to my own. I soon found out that her husband is a chef and creating meals from scratch was a huge part of her life. Safe to say, we bonded instantly.

The bond grew even stronger when my husband came home a short time after the event with a gift from Anne-Maree. It was a small paper bag. Per her instruction, he had me take a whiff of the bag first before looking inside of it. The aroma that permeated the paper was intoxicating. Unable to hold out any longer, I opened the bag to find one small food storage bag housing a sprig of what looked to be a kind of dried leafy herb and another filled with the Sri Lankan curry Anne-Maree and I spoke so much about during our first encounter.

Words cannot explain the scent. It was light but at the same time powerful and unlike the half-dozen curries I already had in my spice drawer. I knew instantly, in addition to the significance this spice had in Anne-Maree’s family, why this curry was so special to her.

So I saved it, waiting for the moment when the perfect canvas for this spice finally populated my thoughts. And I am so happy to say it did.

This recipe for Sri Lankan Curry Porterhouse Lamb Chops with Coconut Risotto is a dish that can be classified as a labor of love. Using such a special curry, I refused to rush any step. From the marinade and searing, to the braising and the use of the braising liquid in the creamiest risotto you may ever have, one bite will prove every moment spent on this dish to be more than worth the time and effort you put into it.

Curry Week continues here on the blog with one of the most special dishes I ever put together in my kitchen. And I dedicate it to Anne-Maree, who shared such an important part of her family history and life with me. I hope this dish makes you and your family proud!

Sri Lankan Curry Porterhouse Lamb Chops
with Coconut Risotto

(recipe serving size: 3-4 people)

For the lamb chops:

3.5 lb lamb loin chops (8 chops 1.5 inch thick)

2 tb olive oil plus 1 tb for the pot

1 tb Sri Lankan curry

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat the chops in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the spice blend and marinade in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or other high-sided oven-safe pot over medium to medium-high heat. Sear the lamb chops for 2 mins on one side, 30 seconds on each edge and 1 minute on the uncooked side. Remove the chops from the pot and set them aside.

For the onion sauté:

1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/2-inch slices

1 tb olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Add the tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced onions to the pot you used for the lamb. Season with the salt and pepper and sauté for 8-10 minutes.

For the braise:

2 cups albariño wine (or another dry white wine)

2 cups chicken stock

12 basil leaves, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

6 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tsp Sri Lankan curry

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

Add the wine to the onions and return the lamb chops to the pot. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, basil, cilantro, garlic, bay leaves, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and curry powder. Bring to a vibrate boil and place in the oven with the lid on. Cook for 2 hours.

Remove the lamb from the pot and strain the braising liquid into a bowl. Remove the bay leaves and reserve the braised onions and garlic.

Set aside 1 cup of the braising liquid. Return the rest of the braising liquid to the pot along with the lamb and keep warm in the oven (200 degrees).

For the risotto:

1 1/4 cup arborio rice (risotto)

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup reserved braising liquid

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tb olive oil

Reserved braised onions and garlic

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the reserved braised onions and garlic. Follow by adding the arborio rice and incorporate the onions and garlic with the rice with a spoon.

Combine the chicken stock with the reserved braising liquid and start the cooking process by adding 1 cup of the newly-combined stock to the pan. Stir the rice until all of the liquid has evaporated and then add another cup. Repeat this process, stirring continuously. Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk to the last 1/2 cup of stock and pour it all into the pan of rice. Once the rice is tender, add the last 1/2 cup of coconut milk directly to the pan and stir it into the rice until fully incorporated. The seasoning should be perfect by now, but salt and pepper to taste based on preference.

Bringing it all together:

Chopped basil and cilantro for garnish

Crushed red pepper flakes for garnish and extra heat

Divide the risotto into individual dining bowls and place 2 of the lamb chops at the center of each serving of risotto. Pour some of the additional braising liquid over the lamb and garnish with the herbs and pepper.

Enjoy while warm!

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