Spice-Rubbed Lamb Chops, with Garbanzos & Couscous

Suffolk Lambs

Suffolk Lambs

By Cat, Dec 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Lamb, Pork, Small Game Menu; 2. Steamed Couscous

Couscous is very tiny type of pasta, typically made from semolina; couscous resembles bulgur and is cooked by steaming (see Steamed Couscous; see Wheat (about) for more about semolina). Couscous is quite popular around the Mediterranean and is a great accompaniment for lamb. A good substitute for couscous is steamed quinoa, or bulgur.

I sprout and cook up a batch of garbanzos and then freeze them in single-serving quantities for use in recipes like this.

Spice-Rubbed Lamb Chops, with Garbanzos & Couscous



(Photo, left, from Wikimedia Commons)

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, December 2008 magazine (and reprinted by Seattle Times (1), and has a Middle-Eastern or Moroccan flavor.  While the recipe calls for a quick-cooking (parboiled) variety of whole wheat couscous (a fine-grained durham wheat product similar to pasta), you could use regular couscous, brown rice, bulgur, or quinoa, steamed separately until nearly done before adding to the pan of chops.

Couscous is best steamed, not boiled; and fluffed after steaming, not stirred while cooking.  Refer to Homecooking at about.com (2) for more tips on cooking couscous.

Serves 4.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ¾ cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp shredded orange zest
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ⅛ tsp unrefined sea salt, fine-grind
  • 8 lamb rib chops, 1-inch thick (1.75 lb)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes (or a 14.5 oz can)
  • ½ cup couscous (quick-cooking variety), or quinoa if you want to avoid gluten
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • orange or tangerine wedges
  • Equipment:
  • small bowl
  • 12-inch cast iron skillet


  1. Prep: Combine orange zest, spices and salt in small bowl.
  2. Scrub carrot, cut in half lengthwise, and slice.  Chop onion.  Set both aside.
  3. Trim fat from chops; rub spice mixture over both sides of chops.
  4.  Cook: Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add chops.  Reduce heat to medium and cook to desired doneness (4 – 5 minutes for rare; 9 – 11 minutes for medium), turning halfway through.  Remove from pan and keep warm.
  5. Add carrot and onion; cook and stir 3 minutes.  Slowly add water, tomatoes and cooked garbanzos.  Bring to a boil.
  6. Stir in couscous.  Top with chops.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer chops to platter.  Fluff couscous with fork.  Serve with chops, sprinkling couscous with parsley.  Garnish with orange wedges.


  1. Better Homes and Gardens, December 2008 magazine (and reprinted by Seattle Times, seattletimes.com/food-drink/recipe-spice-rubbed-lamb-chops/)
  2. Homecooking at about.com on couscous tips (homecooking.about.com/od/specificdishe1/a/couscoustips.htm

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