Ethiopian berbere spice adds a fiery kick to perfectly grilled lamb chops, and a subtle heat to a refreshing lentil salad with cucumber and mint. This recipe makes a generous amount of lentil salad; leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Why this recipe works:
- Starting the lamb on the cool side of the grill allows them to slowly reach the perfect internal temperature. A quick sear over high heat browns the outside.
- Cooking lentils with aromatic vegetables and herbs greatly improves their flavor.
Note: Berebere, a fiery Ethiopian spice blend, is available at many well-stocked supermarkets, specialty food stores, and online at Amazon and Penzeys. Because different berbere blends can have different heat levels, taste a small amount before rubbing into the lamb: If it's incredibly hot, be more sparing with its application.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 15 minutes
- 3/4 pound green lentils
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 medium carrot, peeled
- 1 sprig rosemary (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon berbere spice blend, plus more for rubbing lamb chops (see note above)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 bone-in lamb rib or loin chops, cut 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inches thick
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves, torn
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: high
Add lentils, onion, garlic, carrot, and rosemary, if using, and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then drain lentils, discarding aromatics, and let cool. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss lentils with cucumber, 1/2 teaspoon berbere spice, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Salt lamb on both sides and let sit at room temperature for 40 minutes while preparing grill.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to high. Cover and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Rub a light dusting of berbere spice onto lamb chops. Place lamb chops on cool side of grill. Cover with an aluminum pan and let cook until instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 110°F for rare or 120°F for medium-rare.
Move lamb to hot side of grill and cook until browned on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side and instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 120°F for rare or 130°F for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes.
Toss mint into lentil salad and serve with lamb chops.