Spiced lamb chops, with couscous or kasha

Cuts of Lamb

By Cat, April 15, 2017

I love lamb chops – just about my favorite red meat – and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to flavor them. Lamb, like venison, has a gamey flavor so benefit from herbs and spices. Rosemary and mint are commonly-used herbs, but what about spices?

This recipe uses ground allspice, cinnamon and cayenne. Another good option is garlic and mint. I plan to prepare this for Easter (I’m just not big on ham).

See also: 1. Lamb menu; 2. Mediterranean menu; 3. Kasha with Middle-Eastern Flavors

Spiced Lamb Chops

I’ve adapted this recipe from one by Linda Gassenheimer, in the Tribune News Service and reprinted in our local Daily Inter Lake. This is best with loin chops, but steaks cut from the hind leg, with a single round bone in the middle would also be good. The chops are quick to make, but the recommended accompaniment: Tomato-Mint Couscous can take longer unless you use pre-cooked couscous as in this recipe.

The original recipe is low-fat, cutting off all the fat from the chops and cooking them in olive oil (sprayed on the inside of the skillet) over high heat. But that is too much heat for olive oil; either cook at medium, or use coconut oil or lard. Also, I believe that fat on meat from pasture-raised animals fat is actually good for you, by helping to maintain a healthy blood sugar level as recommended fora ketogenic eating plan).

For the couscous (or alternatives, see below), I use more olive oil, and add a bit of allspice or cardamom with the salt and pepper; and I add  a Middle Eastern garnish as recommended in Mediterranean kasha.

Couscous alternatives: NOTE: Quinoa most resembles couscous in look, but bulgur or kasha are more authentically Mediterranean.

  • Bulgur (not gluten-free); needs to rest in the boiled water 20 minutes (instead of 5), to soften;
  • Kasha (gluten-free buckwheat), needs to rest in boiled water only 5 minutes (sam as couscous);
  • Quinoa (gluten-free), needs to simmer in boiled water 15-20 minutes if not sprouted, or 5 minutes if sprouted; then rest off-heat for 5 minutes.

Serves 2.

Ingredients & Equipment

  • Chops:
  • two 6 – 7 oz loin lamb chops
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • coconut oil or lard
  • Tomato-Mint Couscous
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 small fennel bulb or 1/2 large bulb (optional)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut in 1″ dice
  • 2 – 3″ of celery stalk, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • pinch ea cinnamon and cardamom or allspice (optional)
  • pinch dried oregano
  • unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup precooked whole-grain couscous OR half-recipe Kasha with Middle-Eastern Flavors
  • 2 tsp olive oil, or more, to taste
  • pinch allspice or cardamom, to taste
  • Equipment
  • cast iron skillet (for chops)
  • saucepan (for couscous/kasha)


  1. Chops: Mix spices together and spread on both sides of chops, rubbing it in.
  2. Heat oil/fat in skillet over medium-high. Add chops and brown 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Lower heat to low, cover with lid and cook 5 minutes or longer. A meat thermometer should read 125°F for rare or 145°F for medium.
  4. Couscous/kasha: Slice onion thinly; if using fennel bulb, slice white part thinly as well. Mince garlic and chop celery (optional). Sauté all lightly in olive oil with allspice/cardamom and oregano (herb/spices optional).
  5. Wash tomatoes and cut into 1″ cubes.
  6. Wash mint and dry with a towel, then tear into small pieces.
  7. Bring water to a boil in saucepan; stir in couscous/kasha*, sautéed onion and fennel. Cover and remove from heat to rest for 5 minutes while the grains absorb the water.
  8. Add prepped tomato, mint and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Fluff with a fork and cover until ready to serve with the chops.

‘*NOTE: if using quinoa or bulgur, these need to simmer in the boiled water 15-20 minutes, then removed from heat to rest 5 minutes. So start them 10 – 15 minutes before cooking the chops


4/16/17 – Easter: Made as written with following notes: To season chops, I sprinkled on the allspice and cinnamon to cover, then rubbed in (rather than measuring out 1 tsp each) and let rest while the couscous substitute (quinoa, un-sprouted) cooked. Pre-cooked quinoa 15 minutes before adding sautéed veggies (onion, fennel, garlic, celery and some of the fennel leaves), then resting, covered, while the chops cooked (about 9 minutes).  Didn’t have much mint on hand, but used what I had, with the tomatoes and stirred into the quinoa/veggie mix with pinch of the spices. Served with the currant/almond garnish on the quinoa, plus braised kale and cooked beetroot as sides. Result: I’m so glad I added fennel and celery to the veggie mix, as they add wonderful flavor. The garnish is also excellent. The lamb, well, I think this was the best I’ve ever had.


  1. Linda Gassenheimer recipe, in the Florida Keys Tribune News Service (flkeysnews.com/living/food-drink/article144134644.html)


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