Cast Iron

Tea-crusted Lamb Chops

February 15, 2013
4 Ratings
  • Serves 3-4
Author Notes

I had lamb chops. I had tea. (I always do). I thought I could combine the two in a flavorful dry rub. Something was missing so I added garlic, blended once more and ended up with a flavorful damp rub. If you prefer less smoke, (or have a brand-new box of smoked tea) use regular salt and paprika in place of the smokey ones, and/or black tea such as Oolong instead of Lapsang Souchong. You want a good whiff of smoke but you want the other flavors to sound out as well. —creamtea

What You'll Need
  • For the spice rub
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Lapsang Souchong or Oolong teabags (3 tablespoons loose tea)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground smoked sea salt (or plain sea salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 medium cloves fresh garlic, mashed with the flat side of a knife then coarsely chopped
  • 3 lamb shoulder chops, 1-inch thick, with round bone
  • For the lamb chops
  1. Lightly toast cumin using a non-coated skillet (actually I use a long-handled 1-1/2 cup stainless measure). This should take only a few seconds. When fragrant, empty into bowl of a small food-processor or spice grinder.
  2. Add next 7 ingredients and start motor, shaking occasionally to assure that the blade grinds the seeds and tea leaves. You don't want a powder; there should still be some texture.
  3. Add garlic and process to a dampish dry paste; empty into a prep bowl.
  4. Pat chops dry with a paper towel and coat with the spice mixture, pressing in to be sure it adheres. Marinate at least one hour, refrigerated, but remove about 1/2 hour before cooking.
  5. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high flame. Add a small amount of oil and film it over the skillet with a folded paper towel. When skillet is hot but not smoking, add chops, making sure not to crowd the pan. Weight with a steak-weight to avoid buckling. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, adjusting heat as necessary to avoid scorching. When chop is ready to flip, it should release easily from the pan.
  6. Serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • creamtea

3 Reviews

LeBec F. March 13, 2013
At Last!! A lamb recipe without rosemary!! Hallelujah!(As rare as a skate dsh served without brown butter and capers!)Since I love lamb with cumin, I will def try this intriguing use of tea. c, i have questions: why the 2 cumins? (The only ground cumin i use is from seeds that i have toasted and ground; i keep a small jar of ground toasted cumin in my spice drawer; no problems with flavor fading.(Try it- saves alot of time!)Or is the 2nd ingredient supposed to be something other than cumin?

Do your lamb chops have an encircling layer of fat? If they do, you can prevent buckling by cutting into the fat (only) a few places around the chop. Thx for this!
creamtea September 8, 2013
Thank you for your comment! You could of course just use the toasted cumin. I just liked the combination of the two cumins, ground and toasted. It was a little "rounder".
creamtea February 15, 2013
Please ignor headings ("for the spice rub" etc.). Encountering technical difficulties during edits so I'll leave it as is for now!