With heavy, feast-worthy dishes like leg of lamb, roasted rack of lamb, or a slow-braised lamb stew, lamb might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering a convenient, easy-to-eat appetizer. But because of their dainty size, lamb chops make for a great finger food to serve alongside a beer or glass of wine.
Lamb rib chops, in particular, feature a long rib bone adorned with a juicy medallion of meat on the end. A quick marinade in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary lends complementary earthy flavors to the chops without overpowering the unique meaty flavor of the lamb. And because of their small size, the lamb chops can be quickly seared in a pan and ready to serve in minutes. As is, the crusty lamb chops are good enough on their own, but a quick pan sauce made from honey and apple cider provides a subtly sweet counterpoint to the savory lamb.
Each chop provides a succulent two or three-bite serving of lamb—and on top of that, the rib bone makes for a convenient built-in handle. Although corn dogs, kebabs, and satays all make for great bar bites in their own right, there is no other meat-on-a-stick option more elegant than a lamb rib chop.
- Yield:Serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 30 minutes
- 8 lamb rib chops (about 2 pounds total)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots (about 1/2 small)
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
Place the lamb chops in a shallow dish, then season the lamb chops on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl, then pour over the lamb chops. Marinate the lamb chops in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning the chops over once midway through.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, cook the lamb chops in the pan until brown and crusty, 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the lamb chops to a large platter and let rest at room temperature.
While lamb rests, add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots begin to wilt and soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the apple cider into the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the vinegar and the honey, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Spoon the glaze over the lamb chops and serve immediately.