Upgrade Lamb and Lentils in 1 Step With Berbere Spice

Rubbed with an Ethiopian spice mixture, these grilled lamb chops are incredibly easy and flavorful. Daniel Gritzer

I don't often have access to a grill here in New York City, so when I was down in Florida a few weeks ago visiting my family, I made a point of taking advantage of the grill at my mom's place there. I wasn't on vacation, though, and had a fair amount of work to do, so I had to find ways to use the grill that didn't involve too much prep work. This easy dish of grilled lamb chops with lentil salad was one of my solutions.

My secret no-work flavor weapon: berbere, a fiery Ethiopian spice blend. Max has written about it in more depth here, but in short, it's loaded with hot chili powder, along with spices like cardamom, clove, and fenugreek. Every berbere blend is different, so it's important to taste it before adding it to food. Some are so hot you'll want to be very sparing, unless you really, really like to set your mouth on fire.

For the chops, I rubbed them lightly with the berbere, then grilled them using Josh Bousel's reverse-searing method.

Because berbere is often added to lentils in Ethiopian cooking, I decided to borrow that idea by adding a bit of it to a lentil salad. The salad has refreshing ingredients like mint and cucumber, so the berbere helps to add a warm base layer of flavor to it.

The lentils take a little time to cook, and we recommend salting the meat about 40 minutes before grilling for best results, but the actual hands-on cooking is fairly minimal.