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I’m happy to say that I didn’t spend my entire vacation baking. I took advantage of my allotted 10 days of idleness to make some extravagant meals for the family.

Well, extravagant by my family’s standards. One of my brothers could survive indefinitely on grilled sandwiches and canned spaghetti (and, to give him credit, occasional homemade sushi). The other brother needs only fried chicken tenders, pizza, and peanut butter banana sandwiches. My sister subsists on cookie dough, preferably with peanut butter in it.

So. When one goes about creating a meal for my family, one must be prepared for a complaint or two. “Well, I’ll eat lamb, but it’s just not as good as a steak”… “I will NOT eat 4 green beans!”… “Your father doesn’t do tomato soup”… “Why don’t we just order a pizza?” Nevertheless, I soldiered on. My mom was the only one who enjoyed the variety, but the rest managed to choke it down with their version of “good grace.”

These lamb chops looked fancy with their bright maroon sauce, but they were easy. To make enough for my meat-crazy family, I made 14 chops, and doubled the sauce recipe. I served them with Mollie Katzen’s seared green beans. I’m usually a fan of super over-cooked green beans, but these were fabulous.

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Rosemary Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Sauce

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Serves 4 (or 2 if you like meat)

For the chops:
4 bone-in lamb chops
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

For the sauce:
3 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (recipe below)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

1. First, make rosemary salt.Put the coarse salt on a cutting board, and pile the rosemary leaves on top. Use a knife to chop them together until they’re well-combined. (This can also be done in a food processor, if you want to make more.)

2. Rub the rosemary salt and some freshly ground pepper on both sides of each chop.

3. Heat a glug of olive oil in a deep pan, then add the chops. Cook about 5 minutes per side (medium rare). Set aside.

4. Add the chopped shallots to the pan and cook, stirring, for about a minute.

5. Add the wine to the pan and scrape all the meaty bits off the bottom. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer until it reduces and thickens, about 6-10 minutes.

6. Pour the sauce over each lamb chop.

Pomegranate Molasses

This makes about a cup; you can cut it down if you want, or just keep the leftovers in the fridge.

4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar (less or more, depending on desired sweetness)
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Heat all ingredients in a pot over medium high heat, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to just maintain a simmer. Simmer for an hour, until the mixture is syrupy and has reduced to about 1 cup.

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