Disclaimer: “Sponsored Post – NORTH Food Festival”.
Halló!!! I mean, hi! Are you excited? I sure am!!! Today we will be cooking nothing less than Pan-Seared Lamb Chops with Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction served on a chilled bed of greens. This is a dish to celebrate the magical country of Iceland and, of course, the NORTH Nordic Food Festival that will be taking place from October 2-7 in New York City.
This will be an unique event– both an exclusive dining experience and a phenomenal opportunity to participate in Nordic cooking classes, while learning from star chefs from Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden.
As a contributor to Honest Cooking Magazine, today I am proudly representing the cuisine of Iceland, the most peaceful country on Earth. Iceland? Yes, that’s right!!!! While I have not yet had the opportunity of a visit, I do hope one day to be able to see in person the “Land of Fire and Ice,” and to experience the Aurora Borealis on a dark winter’s night or the midnight sun in the summer. Iceland… a fascinating land of spectacular landscapes, natural hot springs, geothermal lagoons such as the famous Blue Lagoon, fjords, glaciers, mountains, and volcanos… An ideal place for outdoor activities such as rafting, fishing, diving, snorkeling, hiking, dog-sledding, and snowboarding, among others… A country rich in culture, and well-known for hosting great music festivals, for its innovative designers and a Noble Prize-winning writer (Halldór Laxness), and also for its commitment to the environment. This country, slightly smaller than the US state of Kentucky, is celebrated for its diet enriched by ingredients of the highest quality– all farmed, bred, and caught in an unpolluted environment.
One thing is for sure: you don’t have to travel in order to experience a taste of Iceland, where lamb, dairy products (such as skyr, a soft cheese similar to yogurt in texture), seafood (salmon, haddock, plaice, halibut, herring, and shrimp), and rye bread are staples. Other common ingredients of Icelandic cuisine include blueberries, crowberries, rhubarb, wild mushrooms, thyme, lovage, angelica, and dried seaweed. Further, cabbage, potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, cucumbers, and tomatoes are additional common elements. Traditional Icelandic cuisine is known for its use of preservation methods such as pickling, drying, and smoking, on account of its harsh winter conditions.
As the country absorbed foreign influences in the 20th century, so did Icelandic cuisine. And thus arose Modern Icelandic cuisine, which places greater emphasis on the quality of the available ingredients than the use of age-old cooking traditions and methods. Although traditional Icelandic cuisine is immensely interesting, our Lamb Chops with Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction follows more after the modern spirit. This means that traditional ingredients such as lamb, thyme, and blueberry were incorporated into the dish, but with a more modern flair and techniques.
As I am sure you know, my usual mission is to introduce Brazilian cuisine to you, and particularly to share technically-correct, predominantly homestyle recipes. However, today we will be doing something quite different– not only because our Lamb Chops with Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction dish follows the currents of Modern Icelandic cuisine, but also because the presentation will be restaurant-style. That’s right! But trust me, there is no need whatsoever to feel intimidated about that. These lamb chops are something that you will be able to brag about to your guests or loved ones, because not only will you be sharing with them something inspired by a far-off country, but also because they will feel as though these lamb chops came from a fine restaurant kitchen– although made by you right at home. Now, how cool is that?
To learn more about the festival, please click on the banner at the bottom of this post. For now, grab the ingredients below, and let’s have fun preparing lamb chops together.
Thyme Lamb Chops with Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction
Segment: From My Table To Yours
For the Chops:
1 pound single lamb rib chops, bone in and frenched (about 4 chops)
2-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Blueberry-Balsamic Reduction:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup blueberry juice, either store-bought or homemade**
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 large or 2 small thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black peper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
**To make your own blueberry juice, blend 1/4 fresh or frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup water in a blender. When well blended, strain and then use for the reduction.
1. In small bowl, combine the thyme, garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir well until combined. Coat the lamb chops with the mixture, massaging it into the meat with your fingers. Refrigerate for about 30-40 minutes.
2. In a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is sizzling hot, sear the lamb chops on all four sides (2 flats sides, top, and bottom) for about 2-3 minutes total (for rare) or for about 4-5 minutes total (for medium).
3. Transfer the lamb chops to a serving plate, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and let sit for about 5-7 minutes before serving drizzled with the reduction. While lamb chops are resting, prepare the reduction.
4. To make the reduction: Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, and sweat the shallots until translucent, about 1 minute. Pour both the balsamic vinegar and blueberry juice into the pan, stir in the sugar and bring to a boil. Add the thyme and allow the liquids to gently boil, reducing for about 7 minutes or until only about 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and swirl the butter into the pan. Remove the thyme sprigs. Serve lamb chops on a bed of cold vegetables (e.g. fresh cucumber noodles made with a melon scraper or lemon zester, blanched peas and cubed carrots) drizzled with the blueberry-balsamic reduction. Enjoy!
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Learn more about Nordic cuisine at the NORTH Festival 2013 in New York City. This post is a collaboration between the blogger and NORTH Festival 2013.