Good Old (Or, Actually Young) Lamb Chops
Lamb Chops with Shallot Cream Sauce Recipe by Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck's Kitchen - Recipes by Wolfgang Puck
By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Media Services
Soon after I opened my first Spago restaurant back in 1982, I was asked
to speak to a group of beef producers at a conference in Palm Springs.
The invitation was flattering, and I accepted, of course. But, as I
told my hosts a little bit sheepishly (and there is an intended pun, as
you'll very soon understand), I wasn't sure why they'd invited me.
After all, the only meat on Spago's menu at the time was lamb.
Of course, you can order beef, as well as pork and humanely raised
veal, at Spago now. There's a simple reason, however, why I only had
lamb on the menu to start: It's one of my all-time favorite meats. So,
I'm always surprised when some people tell me they don't like lamb,
usually complaining that it's too gamy or, well, "lamby," for their
It doesn't have to be that way. For my restaurants, we order lamb from
a special farmer in Sonoma, Calif., who raises the meat to our exacting
specifications, including my commitment to using only ingredients that
are produced in a responsible and safe way. That ensures that the meat
is absolutely tender and rich-tasting, yet mild.
You don't necessarily order lamb especially for good meat, however.
Just be sure that you buy the lamb from a good-quality butcher or
market, so you'll be sure you're getting good young lamb from animals
no more than seven months old, rather than stronger-tasting mutton,
which comes from an animal that is one year or older.
The next important thing to remember is to trim excess fat from lamb
before you cook it, especially with cuts like lamb chops, which are
often ringed with fat. Most of the strong aroma and flavor people
associate unpleasantly with lamb comes from that fat, and cooking lamb
with the fat transfers some of that smell and taste to the meat.
Eliminate most of the fat, however, and you eliminate much of the
reason for objections.
Finally, remember that the flavor of good lamb is best appreciated when
the meat is cooked medium-rare. Push it to medium or well-done and you
lose much of the tenderness, juiciness and sweetness for which lamb is
Beyond that, it's up to you how you embellish a quickly cooked lamb
dish. Since the early days of Spago, one of my favorite ways to offer
lamb chops has been to saute them and then prepare a quick pan sauce
with chopped shallots, vinegar, white wine and cream, a recipe I first
learned back in the early 1970s at Oustau de Baumaniere in the south of
France. Serve it to your own guests and, I promise you, no one will
notice that you aren't offering beef!
Lamb Chops with Shallot Cream Sauce Recipe
12 lamb chops, each about 1-1/2 inches thick, excess fat trimmed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon safflower oil or canola oil
10 shallots, minced
1/2 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup organic store-bought chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Season the lamb chops on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a large, heavy saute pan large enough to hold all the lamb chops,
or two smaller pans large enough to hold half each, over medium-high
heat. Add the oil and, as soon as it swirls easily, add the lamb chops
and saute them until they are medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side,
resisting the urge to move them around while they cook. Transfer the
chops to a warmed platter and cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil to
keep them warm.
Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the saute pan and add three
fourths of the shallots, reserving the remainder. Saute the shallots
until they are fragrant and begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the
vinegar, raise the heat to high, and stir and scrape with a wooden
spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Add the white wine, bring the liquid
to a boil, and continue boiling until the liquid has reduced to only
about 2 tablespoons, about 7 minutes.
Add the broth and the thyme and continue boiling until the liquid
reduces by half, 3 to 5 minutes more. Stir in the cream and continue
boiling until the liquid reduces to a lightly thickened consistency,
about half its original volume, about 5 minutes more.
A few pieces at a time, whisk the butter into the sauce. Taste the
sauce and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, with a little more salt
and pepper. Pour the sauce through a fine-meshed strainer into a clean
As soon as the sauce is ready, place 2 lamb chops on each heated
serving plate. Spoon the sauce over and around each chop, garnish with
the reserved shallots, and serve immediately.
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Wolfgang Puck's Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck
The world-renowned chef with an extraordinary passion for food now shares that passion in Wolfgang
Puck's Kitchen. Puck makes great cooking easier than you ever imagined. He reveals how to turn common ingredients into uncommon masterpieces. Each feature includes both an expert tip and an easy recipe-exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable. Moves with color photos.
About Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck, in the eyes of food lovers and experts alike, is one of the most famous chefs in America and arguably the world. He has spawned a culinary empire that includes a fine dining group of 12 internationally acclaimed restaurants in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Maui; an extensive catering & events business with bases in Hollywood and Chicago, famed as official caterer to the Governors Ball following the Oscars; as well as Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc., a corporation that controls, licenses, and franchises the Wolfgang Puck brand in a wide variety of business activities, including casual Wolfgang Puck Cafes, fast-casual Wolfgang Puck Expresses, consumer packaged foods, cookware, book publishing, television, and the Internet.
For the first time, Puck shares his expert, easy-to-master approach to cooking in the newspaper arena through WOLFGANG PUCK?S KITCHEN, a newspaper column syndicated by Tribune Media Services.
The Austrian-born Puck began his formal training at age 14, inspired by his mother, Maria, a hotel chef. He left Europe for America in 1973 at the age of 24, having already worked in the master kitchens of three-star French restaurants. In 1975, Puck moved to Los Angeles, and soon was both chef and part-owner of Ma Maison. It quickly became a magnet for the rich and famous, with Puck as star attraction. Since then, he has changed the way Americans cook and eat by fusing formal French techniques and Asian- and California-influenced esthetics with the highest quality ingredients.
After the 1981 publication of the first of his five cookbooks, Puck, in partnership with designer Barbara Lazaroff, opened Spago. Located in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, it was an instant success and culinary phenomenon from its opening day in 1982. Although the original location closed in 2000, three years after the successful opening of Spago Beverly Hills, Spago Hollywood today is remembered internationally as a legendary haven for entertainment, political and social luminaries.
In 2000, Puck developed his own "Wolfgang Puck" television show, which began airing on the Food Network in January 2001. The show features Puck sharing his cooking expertise with a studio audience who joins him in his kitchen, along with field documentary segments in which he explores the vast and diverse world of food, from farms to artisan workshops to restaurants, and visits with such luminaries as Julia Child, Robert Mondavi and Paul Bocuse. "Wolfgang Puck" was awarded a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Service Show in 2002.
Puck also appears regularly on ABC's "Good Morning America," sharing his latest creations. He has been a guest on a multitude of other shows, including "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Entertainment Tonight," "ABC News with Peter Jennings," "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," "Frasier," and "The Simpsons." In 2001, the A&E Network featured Puck's life on its popular "Biography" series.
Puck and partner Barbara Lazaroff are actively involved in many philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations, including their own Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation, established in 1982, which supports the annual American Wine & Food Festival to benefit Meals-on-Wheels.
Puck lives in Beverly Hills. He and Barbara Lazaroff have two sons, Cameron and Byron.
(c) 2008 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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