These lamb chops are grilled to perfection and are easy and quick thanks to a nifty combination of mint and cilantro that you can use either as a marinade or as a simple finishing sauce, depending on how much time you can spare.
These lamb chops take their flavor from a quick and nifty trick that will help banish boredom from your weeknight dinner table. Here’s the trick—if you’ve got no time to use the cilantro mint mixture as a marinade, no worries. Just reserve the mixture as a finishing sauce instead and grill the chops plain. The herb sauce—and sneaky shortcut finishing sauce—also works admirably on roast chicken, sea scallops, and shrimp.–Diane Rossen Worthington
How long should I cook my lamb chops?
For optimal taste and texture, lamb chops should be cooked quickly over high heat. Grilling and pan-frying are methods that work exceptionally well by lending the lamb a tinge of color and flavor, thanks to fat sizzling until it sings. Because of their diminutive size, lamb chops don’t take long before they’re cooked and you want to make sure not to overcook them past the point of still juicy and tender. If you’re a digital thermometer kinda cook, you’re looking for a temperature of 130°F for medium-rare.
Lamb Chops with Cilantro and Mint Sauce
For the cilantro-mint marinade and sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the lamb chops
- 8 rib lamb chops up to 3/4-inch (18 mm) thick
- Mint or cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
Make the cilantro honey marinade and sauce
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the ginger, mint, cilantro, honey, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper and process until completely blended and smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
- Place the lamb chops in a resealable plastic bag and pour in 1/4 cup marinade and sauce. Turn the lamb in the bag to coat it evenly. Close the bag and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, turning it once or twice. Cover and refrigerate the remaining unused marinade and sauce separately.
Grill the lamb chops
- Prepare a grill or an oiled grill pan over medium-high heat. Move the lamb to the grill or the grill pan, discarding the used marinade. Cook the lamb for 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium-rare, depending on the thickness. Place the lamb on a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes.
- Arrange the lamb chops on serving plates, criss-crossing the bone ends for a pretty presentation if you like. Spoon the remaining refrigerated marinade and sauce over the top and, if desired, garnish with mint or cilantro leaves.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Lamb with mint is one of my favorite combinations. These grilled lamb chops with cilantro and mint are easy to fix and simple enough for a weeknight meal, yet perfect for entertaining.
The marinade is a perfect blend of mint, cilantro, ginger, and honey, with just a little bit of acid from the rice wine vinegar. I chose to marinate it for about 3 hours. You won’t want to leave the lamb on the grill for too long, as it cooks up very quickly.
I have always been a purist, grilling lamb chops with just coarse sea salt and dried herbs, such as herbs de Provence. But I wanted to try a different one and oh, am I glad I did. What is nice about this recipe is that you can create the marinade way ahead of time, and the longer the lamb stays in it, the tastier it will be.
As we were grilling, the smell was amazing. The mint and cilantro mix was pretty powerful yet was nicely balanced with the lamb itself. Lamb chops can sometimes seem a tad heavy given their natural fat content, but the aroma of the herbs really counter-balanced this. I must say, this absolutely converted me from the usual way I prepared lamb.
I absolutely love lamb chops, but I usually stick with a simple seasoning because the flavor of the lamb is what makes it so great. However, this marinade and sauce is going into my rotation from now on! It’s so easy to blend, and the mint and cilantro give it a fresh twist. The flavors don’t really penetrate the lamb too much in an hour, but that’s what the sauce is for.
Because the chops are already sliced, they grill up super fast. My only gripe is that two chops is not a serving in our house! I can easily eat three or four by myself.
I really loved the cilantro, mint, and ginger combination with the grilled lamb. If your market doesn’t have rib chops, you can buy a rack and cut the chops yourself, which is what I did. The only problem with this is the spacing of the ribs—the thickness of the chops varies from one end of the rack to the other, so you’ll get thick chops from one end, and thin ones from the other. I had to adjust the timing a bit for the chops that were especially thick or thin.
The next time I make these lamb chops with cilantro and mint , I’ll reduce the oil in the portion of the marinade used as a sauce, adding a bit of salted water, as in an Argentine chimichurri sauce.
Lamb is one of my (many) weaknesses. I have tons of grilled lamb recipes, and this lamb chops with cilantro and mint sauce recipe will be moved to the top of the list.
I marinated the lamb for 8 hours to allow the flavous to really permeate the meat. The honey and vinegar add lots of depth, and the sweetness and acidity go incredibly well with the lamb and mint. The ginger adds a bit of heat and character, while the pretty herbs add yet another layer of flavor.
The final product is an impressive, high-end, restaurant-quality dish. My husband, not a lamb lover, has been won over. I can see him requesting this over and over and over.
Originally published July 15, 2010
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I tried these lamb chops both ways, one without marinating and one with about an hour of marinating. The lamb chops do benefit from a bit of marinating, but the sauce is so great that there’s really no need to wait if you don’t want to. The mint and cilantro sauce is tempered by the honey and rice wine vinegar so that you get a sweetish, smooth, cooling sauce that perfectly complements the grilled lamb.
The recipe produces a fair amount of sauce, so you could make 2 racks worth of lamb chops. When cutting racks of lamb yourself, the thickness is going to vary. This recipe would still work if they were thicker—even double rib chops would be spectacular done this way.