I created this recipe for my client, Nielsen-Massey. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me inspired in the kitchen!
Vanilla is a staple for baking, but I really love the deep, earthy flavor that it adds to savory recipes. It’s my secret ingredient in everything from a smokey vanilla tomato relish for grilled steak to the perfect vinaigrette for a roast pear salad. It also adds a little something special to my saffron tomato sauce.
These vanilla balsamic lamb chops are hands-down the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in ages. When making healthy recipes, it’s important to choose pure ingredients with complex flavor profiles that keep things interesting. These lamb chops only use a handful of ingredients, but they have major flavor.
Balsamic reduction is always amazing, but I kicked this version up a few notches with woody vanilla extract and a hefty dose of black pepper. The earthy-sweet-spicy combination blew my mind. I want to eat it on everything! I used Nielsen-Massey’s Mexican Vanilla Extract, which has a deep creamy, spicy (think cinnamon and cloves) flavor that works really well in savory recipes. Nielsen-Massey uses a cold extraction process to make their extracts, which preserves the complex flavor of the vanilla bean. They’re also all-natural and gluten-free – and they’ve been expanding their certified organic line of products.
To make these lamb chops, start by bringing some balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer it until it reduces by about half. At this point, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the glaze from the heat and stir in a good amount of black pepper to help balance out the sweetness.
Set the glaze aside and brush the lamb chops with a little olive oil and some fresh rosemary. Then, broil the lamb for about 5-7 minutes on each side (5 minutes for a perfect medium, 7 if you like them more well done). Once the lamb comes out of the oven, brush the chops with glaze. Be sure not to brush them before you broil them, or the glaze with burn.
For an elegant presentation, you can use rib chops, like I did here, or you can use loin chops, which have a triangular shape without the long bone. Rib chops are my favorite, but it seems like loin chops are slightly easier to find these days. Either way, you can’t go wrong. (If you like lamb, you’ll also love my recipe for Garlic and Herb Lamb Chops)
I served these lamb chops with juicy pomegrante seeds, roast carrots and manchego polenta. And I drizzled that balsamic glaze over every. last. bite.