Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Sauce and Saffron Pilaf
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 pinches of saffron threads
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
- 1-2 large pomegranates or 1 cup store-bought pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 6 peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 12 rib lamb chops
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound farm spinach (available in bundles rather than bags in produce section), washed and dried
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Pre-heat the broiler and arrange the rack 8 inches from the broiler.
Heat a pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the butter and melt, then add the orzo and stir. Toast the pasta to golden brown, 3 minutes, then add the rice and stir to combine. Add the saffron threads to the pan and stir in the stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook the rice for 15-18 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, roll the pomegranate on the counter while applying pressure for a minute. Hold the pomegranate over a small pot and cut into it with a small sharp knife; the juice will come rushing out. Squeeze the pomegranate until 3/4-1 cup of juice is produced. Add the wine and Worcestershire to the juice, then add the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half, 6 minutes or so. Pour a little sauce into a small bowl, stir in the cornstarch and then pour the mixture back into the sauce. Cook to thicken, about 1 minute; remove the whole cloves and bay leaf before serving.
Arrange the chops on a broiler pan and season with salt and pepper. Broil for 3-4 minutes, or only 1 minute on each side for pink centers.
When the chops go in, heat the EVOO in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes, then wilt in the spinach and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Serve the chops topped with pomegranate sauce and with saffron pilaf and wilted spinach alongside.