Lamb in Coffee Marinade with Pinot Noir

July 16, 2012

Lamb in Coffee Marinade with Pinot Noir

The choices of lamb are many, from full leg of lamb to chops of various sizes. We suggest extra thick lamb chops for their elegant look and thick juicy taste. Opt for lamb loin chops, the thicker the better. Double loin chops, (with two eyes and two T bones) are sometimes called English chops. Another choice is to ask your butcher to cut the chops into noisettes, single loin chops boned and rolled for a very pretty presentation. This dish is perfect for a small dinner but you can certainly double the recipe. Serve with the same delicious Pinot Noir you use for the dish.

Side dish recommendations are new red potatoes baked with olive oil, chopped rosemary, and coarse kosher salt; grilled fresh asparagus, and a mixed green mesclun salad with a lemon vinaigrette.

This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

Ingredients for the Coffee Marinade:
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee, pulverized
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
1/3 cup red Pinot Noir (the same as for the lamb and same for serving)
1/4 teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns (white, pink and black are great)
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustards seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Ingredients for the Lamb:
8 extra thick lamb chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh shiitake or chanterelle mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 cups Pinot Noir (this is no time to scrimp, use the best!)
1 long (6-inch) vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cups lamb or chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly brewed Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend coffee
1/2 teaspoon mild honey (clover or wildflower)
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water (optional)
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mint sprigs for garnish, optional

First, prepare the marinade. In a small porcelain or glass bowl, combine the garlic, mint, pulverized coffee, olive oil, and wine.
Next, grind the spices by using a mortar and pestle or a spice or coffee grinder dedicated to spices. Grind together all the peppercorns, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, rosemary, and salt.
Add the spices to coffee/wine/oil mixture and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.

Place the lamb chops in a large Pyrex® style glass dish, taking care not to have them touch one another. Then pour the marinade over them, rubbing thoroughly on the top, bottom and sides.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator at least three or four hours.
When ready to cook, remove the dish, and wipe off most of the marinade with paper towels.

To cook this dish, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan or iron skillet and when it is hot, sauté the mushrooms and shallots, about 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender; the mushrooms will give off their moisture and the shallots will be opaque.
Add the wine, vanilla bean, and mint. Bring this mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and heat until the amount of the liquid is reduced in half. Stir in the stock, brewed coffee, and honey and continue to simmer until that mixture is reduced again by half.
With tongs, remove the vanilla bean and discard it. If you like a thicker sauce, add cornstarch or arrowroot to thicken, whisking in a little at a time to avoid lumps.
Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and keep warm while you grill the chops.

Heat your grill and carefully cook the chops for 7 to 8 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer registers 125°F. They will be pink.
Place the cooked chops on a pre-warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes as the meat continues to cook and the juices will redistribute throughout the chops.

To plate, place two chops on a plate, top with the mushroom/coffee sauce and garnish, as desired, with fresh mint sprigs. Serve immediately.