Greek-style lamb chops with feta and celeriac mash

Greek-style lamb chops with feta and celeriac mash

By
From
Citrus
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

One of my favourite things about going to visit my parents in Greece is that I get to drive up the mountains to a particular taverna, and gorge on their charcoal-grilled lamb chops. The mountain herbs vary from visit to visit, but the flavour is always superb.

You can’t really beat the taste of these cooked over fire, but at a pinch, griddle or grill them instead.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
12 lamb chops, at least 2cm thick, (more if you are all very hungry)
2 lemon, finely grated zest and juice
1 tablespoon dried mountain herbs, (e.g. a mixture of oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped, (optional)
sea salt

For the mash

Quantity Ingredient
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 large celeriac, peeled and cut into small chunks
15g butter, plus extra for the dish and top
100g feta, broken into chunks

To garnish (optional)

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1 lemon, segmented and diced

Method

  1. Put the lamb chops in a non-reactive container. Sprinkle with salt and rub it into the flesh lightly. Mix the lemon zest and juice with the herbs, olive oil and garlic, if using, and rub this over the flesh too. Leave to marinate for a good couple of hours, overnight (refrigerated) if you are able to.
  2. To make the mash, preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the potatoes and celeriac into a saucepan and cover with water. Add salt, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer until tender. Drain, add the butter and mash together. Butter an ovenproof dish and pile the mash into it. Push the feta into the top, leaving it slightly exposed (or at least flush with the mash), then dot with a little more butter. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes until the feta is soft and lightly browned in patches.
  3. When you are ready to cook the chops, prepare your barbecue. If you have any dried lemon peel lying around, soak for a little while in water. When the coals are white, add the lemon peel – it will add smoke and aroma. Arrange the lamb chops around the side (they need indirect heat initially) and cook for around 3 minutes on each side, basting with any dregs of marinade, then move to the centre of the grill to get a decent charring. Leave for at least 5 minutes to rest before eating.
  4. For the optional garnish, heat the olive oil in a small pan and when it is very hot, throw in the capers and lemon. Toss for a few seconds – they should sizzle and brown immediately, so be careful, it might spit at you. Pour this over the mash when it comes out of the oven.

Variation

  • I once – unaccountably – ran out of lemons, so I used a tablespoon of ground, dried lemon myrtle with a little Dijon mustard and orange juice in their place, and just added a pinch of oregano, no other herbs. It worked beautifully.

How to cut

  • Top and tail the citrus and sit it firmly on your chopping board. Then cut from top to bottom, following the contour of the fruit, making sure you are cutting away the pith and outer membrane as you go. When you have cut all the way around, trim o any other bits of white pith you can see. You can then slice or dice the fruit as it is, flicking out pips as you go. For membrane-less segments, take the fruit in one hand and cut along one side of each segment – you can then either cut down the other side to release the segment or you can carefully scrape the flesh in one movement from the centre to the edge – this will ensure you remove every bit of flesh from that side. You should always do this over a bowl to catch any juice, and I always squeeze out the discarded peel and membranes too.
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