a nigel slater pilaf + seared lamb chops

nigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.combritish food writer nigel slater has quite the garden, as he documents in his cookbook tender: a cook and his vegetable patch.  the book is elegantly compiled and approachable in its simplicity.  unfortunately, my garden is nonexistent at the moment, so there are only a handful of recipes i’m able to recreate just now.  one of those is his pilaf recipe – asparagus, fava bean and mint to be exact.  (although even fava beans i couldn’t get a hold off, so i opted for the great northern bean instead).nigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.comnigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.comthis pilaf is more than it lets on to be.  it’s got layers of earthiness and zest – with cinnamon and clove and sweet cardamom and bright scallions.  served alongside a simple seared lamb, i found it to be perfection.  a great side for the next dinner party or family gathering, as its an impressive dish that requires minimal effort.  below i’ve shared the adapted recipe from his cookbook – hope you find it as lovely as i did!nigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.comnigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.comnigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.comnigel slater pilaf + seared lamb // kitschandcamera.comRECIPE: ASPARAGUS, BEAN & MINT PILAF with SEARED LAMB CHOPS serves 4  (pilaf recipe adapted from Nigel Slater’s gorgeous cookbook, Tender: Volume 1)

//ingredients:

for the pilaf

  • 1 cup dried Great Northern beans, soaked overnight
  • 16 asparagus spears
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 scallions
  • 1 handful chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 dry white wine
  • 1 bunch fresh mint

for the lamb

  • 1 Ib. lamb chops
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • s+p

//directions:

for the pilaf

  1. rinse great northern beans and cover in a large pot with at least 2″ of water, overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. an hour or so before you’re ready to begin cooking, rinse the rice.  then cover it in warm water and soak it with 1 tsp of salt for at least an hour.
  3. trim ends off of asparagus and cut into short sections.  chop scallions and spinach. set all aside, separately.
  4. cook the beans in deep, lightly salted boiling water for 5-7 minutes, until just tender.
  5. steam asparagus for 3-4 minutes, until just tender.
  6. melt butter in saucepan, then add bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon stick.  stir in butter for a minute or two, until fragrant.
  7. drain rice and add to butter/spice mixture.  add cumin, cardamom and thyme. stir.
  8. cover rice with 1/3″ of water and bring to a boil.
  9. add salt, cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  10. after 5 minutes, add white wine and let it reduce for another 5 minutes.
  11. add asparagus, beans, scallions & spinach.  replace lid and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until rice is al dente and alcohol has cooked off.

for the lamb

  1. coat lamb ribs lightly with olive oil on each side.
  2. add salt, pepper and garlic salt to both sides, rubbing the spices into the meat.
  3. heat 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. you’ll know the pan is ready for searing when it you get a nice sizzle when you splash water on it.
  4. add lamb ribs and cook ~3 minutes on first side.
  5. check the underside; once you see nice brown sear marks, flip the ribs and cook an additional 3 or so minutes, or until lamb is seared on both sides and a reddish-pink inside.  you can tell done-ness by the touch, it should be firm but not too firm (for medium done-ness).
  6. serve alongside the pilaf.  top with chopped mint and drizzle with cashew mint “yogurt” (see recipe notes below).

//recipe notes:

  • nigel’s original recipe called for fava beans, but unable to find those in new england this time of year, i substituted with great northern instead. i’m certain any hardy bean would work though.
  • the original calls for fresh parsley, not spinach.
  • the addition of white wine was my own; i felt the brown rice needed more tenderizing.
  • the pilaf could easily serve as a meal on its own, if you prefer to skip out on the lamb!
  • top with mint cashew “yogurt” – cardamom mint cashew butter blended with water to create a luxurious yogurt

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