Lamb Chops with Poached Pear and Balsamic Pan Sauce

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The December issue of Bon Appetit had a recipe for something like this with quince, but I decided to use pear instead. I made some other small changes and it turned out great. Here's my take on it below:

1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 pear, peeled, cored, and cut lenthwise into 1/4" or so slices
1 thyme sprig plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 lamb chops (this was enough for me and Av - I had one and he had two - but these were pretty big for lamb chops)
Olive oil for cooking lamb chops in
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
salt, pepper
**this recipe makes plenty of sauce, so if you are feeding more people, cooking more lamb chops will still leave you with lots to use**

I first started with the sauce. In a small pot, I added the apple juice and sugar and boiled until the sugar was dissolved:
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Next, I changed the temperature to medium-low and added the pear and thyme sprig. I added the lid and let this cook for 20 minutes - that lets the pears get nice and soft but not mushy. Once the 20 minutes is up (you can test them earlier for doneness), I removed the pears from the sauce and kept them in bowl in a warm oven. I left the sauce on the stove, on simmer:
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With about five minutes until the pear/sauce mixture was done, I started cooking the lamb chops (salted and peppered them) in a pan with olive oil. Ordinarily, I like to broil lamb chops like this, but this recipe needs the dried pan bits so the lamb needs to be cooked in a skillet. The recipe says that they should take about 3-1/2 minutes per side for loin chops. Mine had to take probably six-seven minutes on each side, but that's probably because they were so nice and thick:
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Once the lamb chops were done, I moved them to a platter and kept them warm. I poured off all the oil and was left with the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Over medium heat, I added all the pear juice to deglaze the pan. I stirred well and turned the heat up a little, and boiled the sauce until it was concentrated to about 1/4 cup:
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Once that was ready, I took the skillet off the heat and added the pears, balsamic vinegar, oregano, rosemary, and chopped thyme:
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The lamb chops were plated and I poured the sauce over the top. It was soooo good!
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