Thick lamb chops with syrup, Scotch & ginger

There are men who regard the concept of cooking with Scotch as sacrilegious. Anything that takes so long to mature and costs so much money can’t and shouldn’t be used as a flavouring agent by braai mechanics.

Well brothers, what can I say? Ever stopped to measure the flood of beer that braaiers use to dampen down the flames? What we have here is a classic, suitably adjusted for local conditions. Instead of the traditional honey and ground ginger, I’ve substituted syrup and ginger medallions. But enough with the details, let’s get grilling …

To make this dish for four diners, you will need:

  • 4 thick-cut lamb chops
  • 200ml best-quality golden syrup
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 75mm fresh root ginger
  • 1 tot Scotch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Additional extra-virgin olive oil just in case
  • Brown sugar

Mix the olive oil, scotch and syrup to create a marinade. Prepare the lamb chops by lightly cutting lines into the fat with a sharp knife. This helps prevent them from warping under high heat. Lightly rub a little salt and a lot of black pepper into the chops then lay them in a flat dish. Pour over sufficient marinade to submerge the meat. Peel the fresh ginger then cut the root into medallions.

Arrange on top of the meat, cover the dish with clingwrap and stick it in the fridge for three hours. When this is done, prepare the braai if you’re cooking with fire, or alternatively, get the grill pan or a heavy-bottomed frying pan ready on the hob. Remove the marinaded chops from the fridge and let them get back to room temperature.

Preheat the grill to 200ºC. Now take an oven proof dish and arrange the cherry tomatoes in one layer. Pour a couple of tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over them. Tear the leaves from two or three sprigs of fresh rosemary and scatter these over the tomatoes. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over them to combat the acidity and stick them in the oven. Grill or roast for 20 minutes, then remove and keep warm under cover.

Now for the lamb. If you’re hitting the braai, get your fire right. If using the hob, heat up the frying pan and pour a tablespoon of olive oil into it. When hot, add the chops and let them cook for four minutes per side under a lid or until done to your liking. Using thick chops produces a rare finish which is just the way I like it. But remember that rare lamb’s not everyone’s idea of good meal.

Now serve the chops with the roasted cherry tomatoes and if you like, a green salad. This meal cries out for cold beer. Need I say more?