Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

Lamb Lollipops_8096

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

Just like I know that Thanksgiving is around the corner when fresh cranberries show up at the market, I know that the Christmas holidays have arrived when I see overflowing bins of pomegranates at my neighborhood store.

With its hard shell, I used to wonder how you ate this exotic looking fruit.  Did you just take a bite or peel it I wondered the first time I saw one! The part that you eat is the ruby red seeds, which are technically referred to as arils.

Pomegranate seeds are now available in most produce departments, but it’s really easy to de-seed a pomegranate yourself.  Start by cutting the pomegranate into quarters and then submerging the pieces in a bowl of water.  Using your hands or a spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Making it simple to separate the good from the bad, the seeds will float to the bottom and the bitter white flesh will float to the top.  Just be careful to not get any of the juice on you as it will stain your clothes.

Pomegranate seeds can be used to add color and a burst of sweetness to just about any dish. Sprinkling the jewel-like seeds over my holiday salads used to be the only way I used pomegranates.  That changed however when a friend told me about a dish she had made using the seeds and the juice as a sauce.

When pomegranate juice is reduced down to a syrupy consistency, it makes a delicious glaze to brush on meat.  The glimmering and juicy seeds are then sprinkled on top as the finishing touch.

Whereas this glaze would be delicious on chicken or pork, I like to use Frenched lamb rib chops at the holidays. This cut is often called lollipop chops because they are eaten using the bone as a “handle” – making it perfect for either a sit down dinner or a cocktail reception. With this gorgeously rich glaze, they make a fabulous holiday party dish.

Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate Glaze

For the pomegranate glaze:
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the lamb chops:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
12 baby lamb chops (about 3 ounces each), frenched
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

To make the pomegranate glaze:
Place the pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced and is the consistency of syrup, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Pour half the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside for serving.

To make the lamb chops:
Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.
Lightly brush the chops with the olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper.

Place the chops on the grill. Close the lid and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chops over and lightly brush with the glaze. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 more minutes for medium rare. Remove the chops from the heat, brush with more glaze, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, place 3 chops on a plate and drizzle with the reserved pomegranate glaze. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The Pomegranate glaze can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use. You will need to reheat it before using in this recipe.

Cooking Tip: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

Recipe excerpted from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

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Jennifer Chandler

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