Grilled Lamb Chops with Goat Cheese Polenta
Lamb gets a riot of flavors here, most of them time-honored partners for this elegant meat. First, it is marinated in oil, rosemary, lemon and garlic. Then, it is grilled. Finally, it is paired with goat cheese polenta, an updated version of a classic
FOR THE LAMB CHOPS:
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup medium-course cornmeal
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
white pepper in a mill
1. Put 1/4 cup oil, lemon slices and garlic in a large plastic bag, add the lamb, seal the bag, and shake to coat the chops on both sides with the marinade. Allow the chops to marinade for 1 hour at room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 8 hours. Allow the lamb to sit out for 1 hour before cooking.
2. When ready, combine the thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock and butter in a heavy-bottomed, 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring the broth to a boil, and gradually add the cornmeal, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Lower the heat and continue to cook the polenta until the mixture thickens, at least 12 minutes. Once the polenta is thick (it should hold its shape well), remove it from the heat and whisk in the goat cheese, salt and one or two grinds of white pepper.
3. In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, over medium-high heat, warm the 1 tablespoon oil. Remove the chops from the marinade, letting any excess liquid run off. Put the lamb on a plate and season well with salt and pepper. Place the chops in the sauté pan and allow them to cook for about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare (a meat thermometer will read 120°F to 125°F). Just before serving, give the chops a final turn to briefly reheat the downward-facing side.
4. Transfer 3 chops to each of 4 plates. Serve with a generous helping of polenta.