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Grilled Lamb Chops & Merguez with Chimichurri

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This is another simple recipe that will wow your guests for that New Year’s celebration.  I like pairing chops with sausage for variety and using Merguez (lamb sausage) to keep the flavors in balance.  But as always, use what you have.  If Johnsonville is what’s in your refrigerator, by all means, make use of it.  A loose, herbaceous chimichurri with a little tang is a perfect accompaniment to break through the richness of lamb.  For this protein I switched up the classic Argentinean sauce to include mint and cilantro (mint and cilantro are to lamb what peanut butter is to jelly).  Stick with the original or try something new;  freshness and acidity is key.

Don’t stress about the fat and calories here – using lean chops and cooking on the grill already puts you ahead of the game. Besides, a little fat is good.  It provides mental and physical satisfaction along with energy.  And remember:  Portion Control!

Ingredients & Method (1 chop per person)

  • 5 lamb chops or 1 per guest
  • 1 pound merguez
  • 1 Tablespoon canola or neutral oil
  • 5 medjool dates, halved and pitted
  • 1 Cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ Cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ Cup mint, chopped
  • 3 gloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice or combination of both
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat grill or indoor grill pan to medium high heat and brush with oil.  Drizzle chops with canola oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side or until desired doneness of meat.  Remove from heat.  Grill sausage until cooked through (if raw) or hot (if pre-cooked).  Place meat on serving platter and garnish with  halved dates and fresh herbs.

Combine parsley, cilantro, mint, red pepper and garlic.  Using a fork or whisk, stir in olive oil and vinegar and/or lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a small serving bowl and place alongside chops and merguez.

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