Bruce Aidells' Turkish Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Shoulder Chops and Carrots
At the same time sour and sticky-sweet, pomegranate molasses is a great secret ingredient to stash. It brightens many a rich dish, especially those made with fatty, gamy cuts like lamb blade chops. In Bruce Aidells' The Great Meat Cookbook, pomegranate molasses is used as a base for a braised-and-glazed lamb blade chop recipe.
The dish as a whole is inspired by Turkish cuisine, with a spicy floral rub for the lamb, and a bright finishing sprinkle of fresh herbs (basil and mint), pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts. Aidells' lamb chops would be welcome on any wintertime table, but would make an equally dashing holiday meal (as long as you're feeding open-minded diners).
Why I picked this recipe: For a colorful and unique holiday meal, this sweet-and-sour lamb dish seemed just the ticket.
What worked: Tangy and rich, the pomegranate sauce was the big winner here. Its tart-sweetness perfectly complemented the gamy lamb and earthy carrots.
What didn't: I would've trimmed the chops a bit before cooking; the larger chunks of unrendered fat were a bit unwieldy come eating time.
Suggested tweaks: You could use any type of blade chop here; goat would work particularly well. To save a little time, I'd cook the carrots and parsnips while reducing the sauce (in other words, with the lid off). They'd easily cook through in the 10 minutes or so it takes to reduce the sauce to a glaze.