(Family Features) The weather is warming and your patio is calling. It's time to make the grill your go-to for everyday dinners and entertaining alike. Add variety to your grilling fare by including American lamb. From burgers to chops, fresh lamb is a fast, delicious and simple weeknight option.
A flavorful pair
Experts recommend pairing grilled lamb with a rich, structured pinot noir.
"Aim to match the distinct flavor of lamb with a full flavored wine," said Steve Peck, red winemaker at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, the California coast family-owned winery established in 1974. "Our Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with lamb. Made from grapes grown in the Arroyo Seco region of central Monterey County, a cool climate region with a reputation for producing world-class pinot noir, this wine features aromas of wild strawberry, cherry, rose petal and dried herbs, with a deep, earthy character - perfect for summer sipping with tender, grilled lamb."
Devoted locavore, Chef Jesse Griffiths of Austin's Dai Due Supper Club, recommends marinating lamb chops overnight with yogurt and citrus. This tenderizes the meat and adds a bright flavor that complements the smoky char from the grill. Here's his recipe for an easy grilled American lamb loin chop dish. For more recipes, visit www.AmericanLamb.com.
Grilled American Lamb Loin Chops with Yogurt, Orange and Olives
Serves 4 to 6
1-1/2 pounds American lamb loin chops, 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plain yogurt, low fat or whole milk
Juice and zest of one orange, divided
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped and divided
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped green olives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
The day before serving, pat chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Lay chops in shallow non-reactive pan such as 8-inch square baking dish. Combine yogurt, half of orange juice and zest, and half of garlic in small bowl. Whisk ingredients together and pour over chops, turning once to coat both sides with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove chops from refrigerator 30-45 minutes prior to grilling to allow meat to come to room temperature. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Remove chops from marinade and allow most of it to drip off. Lightly oil grill and arrange chops over heat. Grill three minutes, turn each chop 90 degrees, and cook for another three minutes or until chops are nicely charred. Flip chops and cook on other side for about six more minutes, turning halfway through. They should still be pink inside. Remove chops from grill and let rest while making sauce.
Combine remaining orange juice and zest, chopped garlic with onion, olives, parsley and olive oil in small bowl. Stir well to combine; spoon sauce over each chop and serve immediately. Enjoy with glass of pinot noir.
Source: American Lamb Board