In a new House and Leisure mini series, writer and food stylist Georgia East travels along the West Coast in search of unique stories and recipes. This recipe for braised lamb chops is inspired by the flavours of St Helena Bay and the butchery that served the local community until its closing in the early '90s. Read the first West Coast Wander story, here.
Braised lamb chops with garlic, lemon and rosemary
2 to 4 large lemons
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
6 to 8 sprigs of fresh rosemary, washed
2 bulbs of fresh garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
16 to 20 organic lamb chops
250ml double-cream plain yoghurt
Fresh crusty bread, to serve
Prep time: 15 mins / Cooking time: 1 hour / Serves: 4
Juice the lemons, retaining the empty peels. In a mixing bowl, combine half of the lemon juice with 125ml of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from 4 of the rosemary sprigs, finely chop and add to the olive oil mixture. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Allow the marinade to sit and the flavours to develop.
Drizzle the remaining 25ml of olive oil into the bottom of a large cast iron pot or casserole. Arrange the lamb chops to lie flat in the base – you may need to do this over two batches – season with salt and pepper and replace the lid. Over high heat, brown the meat on both sides until golden and the fat begins to render. Reduce the heat and add the lemon peels, leftover intact rosemary sprigs and water (remembering to halve the amounts if cooking in two batches). Replace the lid of the casserole and steam the chops for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat and reduce the liquid in the bottom of the casserole until it is dark and syrupy.
Finally, spoon the marinade you made earlier over the cooked lamb chops then combine a tablespoon or two of the same marinade with the yoghurt to make a speedy dip. Serve the chops with the yoghurt dip and a loaf of crusty bread to mop up the sauce left in the base of the casserole.