Curred Lamb & Persian QuinoaOne of the wonderful events at the San Francisco Basque Club’s Annual Picnic is the txorizo (or chorizo) auction; this year there was so much uncooked txorizo and lamb (left over from the barbeque lunch), the club held a big sale. I scored four racks for half price! Huzzah! I was eager to try the lamb but froze them for later; I still had to figure out how I wanted to cook them for two different dinners. Ultimately, I found a handful of recipes and let my husband pick one, leaving me to choose the other.

Below is an adaption of the recipe I chose, not all surprising with my tendency for well-spiced foods. I chose quinoa in lieu of rice, since it has more vitamins, mineral, fiber and protein. According to my copy of Quinoa 365, one cup of cooked quinoa contains 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein, whereas 1 cup of raw quinoa has 12 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein (the seeds triple in size as they cook and absorb water). The nutritional value also depends on which variety you eat. The folks over at Living Strong said one cup of raw red quinoa has 5 grams of fiber and 10 percent of your daily value (DV) iron, and the same amount of the white variety contains 3 grams of fiber and 20 percent DV iron. To balance it out, I use a 50-50 mixture.

Since the original recipe required the meat to marinate for at least eight hours, I went ahead and marinated mine in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Milli’s recipe also recommended that I make lots (enough for 12 people, depending on serving size) to use as an accompaniment to other entrees later, since it was so yummy. I decided to make the quinoa the night before to allow more time for the flavors to meld together.

Curried Lamb Chops with Persian-Inspired Quinoa
Adapted from “Spiced rack of Lamb with Persian Rice” at Milli’s Kitchen.
I served the lamb with the quinoa (see the recipe below) and steamed broccoli, pouring more of the sauce over the top.

Yields: 4 – 6 Servings

Curried Lamp Chops
Curred LambIngredients
1 Lime, juice of
2 Limes, zest of OR 2 Big Pinches Dried Lime Zest
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled, trimmed, minced
1 Inch Thumb Fresh Ginger, peeled, minced
1/2 tsp Dried Ground Sumac Berries
1/2 tsp Ground Cayenne Chili Peppers
1 Heaping tsp Garam Masala Spice Mix
1 tsp Cumin Seeds, fresh ground
1 tsp Coriander Seeds, fresh ground
3 Green Coriander Pods, fresh ground, shells removed
2 Pinches Sea Salt of Choice
Peppercorns, fresh ground, to taste
1 tsp Unprocessed Sugar (optional)
OR 2 tsp Raw Blue Agave Nectar (optional)
2 – 3 T Filtered Water
2 Racks of 8 Lamb Chops
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lime, juice of
1/4 – 1/2 C Filtered Water, as needed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting the amount of water as needed to make a marinade sauce instead of a paste.

Score the lamb fat with a sharp knife. Place the lamb in a baking dish. Pour the marinade over the ribs, rubbing it into the fat. Coat both sides. Cover the dish to prevent cross-contamination. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Coat the lamb with oil, and bring it to room temperature. Sear the racks one at a time, turning with a pair of tongs, in a medium-sized pan to add color and flavor. It is alright to blacken the meat a bit.

Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the remaining lime juice, water and the rest of the marinade. Scrape up the burned-on bits and heat the sauce through. Place the lamb in a baking dish and pour on the sauce.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Let the meat rest covered in the baking dish for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve.

Persian-Inspired Quinoa
Adapted from “Persian Rice” at Milli’s Kitchen.
I found the quinoa rather bland, so I increased the nut, fruit and seasoning amounts.

Yields: 12 Servings

4 C Filtered Water
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Persian Quinoa 0011/4 tsp Sea Salt of Choice
1 C Red Quinoa Seeds
1 C White Quinoa Seeds
1/4 C Pinches Mexican Safflower
1 C Dried Apricots, chopped
2 C Filtered Water
1/4 C Food Grade Rose Petals, chopped
1/2 C Prepared or Toasted Almonds, chopped
1/2 C Prepared or Toasted Pistachios, chopped
OR 1/2 C Pumpkin Seeds, chopped
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 T Coriander Seeds, fresh ground
1 tsp Unprocessed Sugar
1 Large Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, minced
2 Lemons, zest of
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Earth Balance Spread

In a small to medium bowl, soak the dried fruit and safflower in water, adding more if necessary.

In a large pot, bring the water, oil and salt to boil. Pour in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the petals, fruit, soaking water, nuts, seasonings, onion, zest and remaining oil. Recover and cook another 4 to 7 minutes. If there is too much water at this point, keep the lid on for another 5 minutes. If there is still too much water, drain off the excess.

Note: The original recipe called fresh chopped cilantro leaves, which I didn’t have, so I added dried fenugreek leaves after the quinoa finished cooking, but you can mix in the leaves within the last five minutes of cooking. You can also use fresh or dried cilantro or parsley instead.