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An elegant, but easy, lamb dish



Published: Wed, July 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



You don't need a lot of time to make a delicious dinner.

By MARK GRAHAM

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

For easy weekday entertaining, these tiny chops look elegant -- and with the help of your butcher, they're very simple to prepare.

Look for Frenched racks of lamb in the butcher section or freezer section of your supermarket. You'll identify them because the bones of the rack will be exposed and cleaned of any meat. You will need two racks to feed four people.

Menu:

Broiled lamb chops with white bean and tomato ragout

Tossed green salad with mustard vinaigrette

Crusty French bread

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar

Beverage pairing: A spicy zinfandel provides a nice fruitiness to team with the lamb and beans.

Tip: Cut each rack into thin chops using each bone as your guideline. Or, ask your butcher to separate the rack into even chops.

BROILED LAMB CHOPS WITH WHITE BEAN AND TOMATO RAGOUT

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 can (15 ounces) navy beans, drained, rinsed

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 racks lamb, Frenched, separated into chops

Heat broiler to high. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and rosemary; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent and just begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, beans, tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chops with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Place chops on lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Broil chops, turning once, until desired degree of doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Divide ragout among 4 dinner plates; top with lamb chops.

Yield: 4 servings.




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