Cocoa Nibs. Exotic. Ddifferent. Sexy.
They were calling my name last night at the grocery and I couldn't figure out why, but I bought them, brought them home and then enjoyed the fact that I had them---all disregarding the fact that I had no idea what I was going to make with them, have never cooked with them and was generally clueless on how to proceed.
Today I had what I hope will become an annual cookie making party and after making a couple of dozen cookies, everyone was hungry for something a bit more substantial. Enter the lamb chops, Enter the cocoa Nibs.
OOoh yeah! This dish ended up being a great experiment. I served it beside risotto with artichokes and tarragon a green salad and a great bottle of wine and while it wasn't sexy considering we had dinner guests it was delicious and very very very different from our normal fair!
Lamb Chops with Cocoa Nib Sauce
2 medium shallots, minced
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 6-ounce lamb chops
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1/4 cup Heavy cream
Pinch of sugar
Shredded basil leaves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a baking dish with cooking oil and place it on the middle oven rack.
Sprinkle the cocoa powder on a plate; use it to lightly coat both sides of the lamb chops. Lightly season both sides with salt. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chops and cook for 2 minutes, then turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Both sides should have a slightly seared, chocolate-brown crust. Transfer the meat to the baking dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until it reaches the internal temperature of 150.
With the skillet still over medium heat, add the minced shallots and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have softened. Add the wine and broth; increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, until the liquid has been reduced by at least a third then stir in the mustard and cocoa nibs. Salt to taste. Cook on low for three minutes.
Turn off the oven and transfer the meat to the counter to rest. Pour sauce over meat and top with shredded basil.