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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
For the spice rub
teaspoon cumin seeds
teaspoon ground cumin
Lapsang Souchong or Oolong teabags (3 tablespoons loose tea)
teaspoon ground smoked sea salt (or plain sea salt)
teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
teaspoon dried thyme
freshly ground pepper, to taste
pinches sea salt
medium cloves fresh garlic, mashed with the flat side of a knife then coarsely chopped
lamb shoulder chops, 1-inch thick, with round bone
- 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.
- 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.
- Add garlic and process to a dampish dry paste; empty into a prep bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve hot.
For the lamb chops
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spicy Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Tea