A recipe for buttered lamb chops for a quick, festive spring meal

Lamb chops smeared with butter

Total time:40 minutes


Total time:40 minutes


This is the time of year that I dig into lighter and lighter fare. Most of the stews and soups I’ve kept in the freezer over the cold months have been eaten, so I’m on the hunt for easy-to-prepare weekday dishes that sing spring.

From recipe developer Alexis deBoschnek’s first cookbook, To the Last Bite, these buttered lamb chops are just the ticket when you’re in the mood for a festive spring meal. If lamb is your traditional Easter staple, consider that an option, especially if time is short – it comes together in about 40 minutes – or you’re feeding a smaller crowd.

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I didn’t grow up with lamb and had some less than stellar experiences with it as a kid, but when I tried lamb rib chops, especially ones with a nice cap of fat, I was delighted.

Yes, you can prepare a rack of lamb with a well-trimmed bone, but once the chops are sliced ​​apart, the tender, fatty chops are ideal for quick cooking or stovetop grilling. They are sometimes called Lollipop Chops because you can pick them up by their “handle” for eating.

You can make this dish with bone-in lamb chops, which are larger and thicker, but you should increase the cooking time.

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In her cookbook, deBoschnek, who once served as senior test kitchen manager for BuzzFeed’s Tasty, shares accessible recipes that deliver on her promise of little effort, big taste. This is a great example: she recommends fresh sage and thyme – but you can use whatever herbs you prefer – to flavor the chops, which are also tossed with garlic and mustard, adding even more zest to the already fatty meat.

If you’re short on time, marinate the chops on the counter for just 10 minutes while you cook your favorite spring vegetables or prepare a green salad to go. We fried asparagus with our chops.

Or marinate in the fridge for up to 2 hours, if desired: “If you take it longer, you run the risk of the acid in the marinade breaking down the proteins in the meat, resulting in a grey, mushy chop,” writes deBoschnek.

The small chops are then pan fried and brushed with just a tablespoon of butter. I thought I’d want more butter, but it was plenty because of the rendered fat from the chops.

The chops and spring greens come together to deliver a dish that strikes just the right balance of rich flavor and lightness.

Get ahead: The chops can be marinated for up to 2 hours.

Storage Notes: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

NOTICE: You can make this dish with 1 1/2 pound bone-in lamb chops, which are larger and thicker, but consider increasing the cooking time.

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  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves (about 1/4 ounce), plus more for serving
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped or grated
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb chops (about 8 chops; see NOTE)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound total), woody ends trimmed and halved
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a large bowl, stir together the sage, thyme, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the chops and brush them evenly with the herb mixture using your hands. Cover bowl and let marinate on counter for at least 10 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for no more than 2 hours. (If refrigerated, let the chops rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cooking.)

While the chops marinate, in a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown and bubble, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth or water, reduce the heat, cover and steam for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat but keep it covered.

Place two plates next to the stove.

In a large skillet over high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until shimmering. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, add half the lamb chops and, without stirring, cook until golden on one side, about 3 minutes, depending on how rare lamb you like. For Medium, you want an instant-read thermometer to register 130 degrees. Flip the chops, add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the pan and continue cooking until golden brown on the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed. When the butter melts, spoon it over the lamb chops.

Place the cooked chops on one of the plates and cover with the other plate. Repeat with the remaining chops and butter. When done, spoon the remaining pan juices over the chops.

Chops can vary in thickness, so check them toward the end of cooking and remove when they’re at your desired doneness. The butter will brown, but if the butter, garlic, or herbs start to burn, gently wipe out the pan and add fresh oil and butter before cooking the second batch.

Serve the chops and asparagus warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with more fresh thyme, if desired.

Per serving (2 chops and a skimpy cup of asparagus)

Calories: 773; total fat: 66 g; Saturated fat: 24 g; cholesterol: 158 mg; Sodium: 800 mg; carbohydrates: g; fiber: 4 g; sugar: 2 g; Protein: 9.36g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a nutritionist or nutritionist.

Adapted from “Until the last bite” by Alexis deBoschnek (Simon & Schuster, 2022).

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions insatiable@washpost.com.

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