Thursday, 20 September 2012

COOKING FOR ONE: Lamb chops & Spinach & Polenta Copyright SvD.


Two to three small lamb chops
One small packet spinach

One clove of garlic

½ cup polenta

Store cupboard ingredients*: Unsalted butter, Olive oil, salt and pepper (*you probably have these already).


Place the polenta in a pan and warm over medium heat. Stir for around two minutes until the polenta is warmed through. Add  a pinch of salt to the polenta and then one cup of water pouring it in a thin stream and stirring all the time – use a wooden spoon for this. The polenta will absorb the water quickly and will be cooked within three minutes. Take care if the polenta begins to spit – this is usually a sign that all the water has been absorbed. You should still be able to stir the polenta although by now it will feel quite stiff. Remove from the heat.

Grease a shallow baking dish or any square or oblong dish that you have to hand. Use a drop or two of olive oil only when greasing the dish. Spread the polenta in the dish and keep warm.

Rinse the spinach in a basin of cold water. Drain. Peel and squash the garlic clove (with a rolling pin). Keep the clove whole. Melt a knob of butter over medium heat. Add the drained spinach, a pinch of salt and pepper and toss over high heat until wilted – around three minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Rinse out the pan in which you cooked the spinach and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Over medium high heat, add a knob of butter and when the butter begins to foam, add the lamb chops. Speckle the side of each chop facing you with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Count three minutes. Turn over the lamb chops and season with salt and pepper. Count two minutes. The chops will be pink at this stage. If you refer the chops medium to well done, add another one or two minutes to the cooking time.

Leave the chops to rest for a few minutes. Serve the chops and the polenta (cut into squares) with the lamb cooking juices drizzled over and the spinach on the side.

Tip: Polenta is cheap and easy to prepare. You can jazz it up with a topping such as a rich tomato sauce – throw in a few black olives and layer anchovies over the top and it becomes a meal on its own.

Polenta also tastes delicious cut in squares and fried in olive oil until crisp. However this takes a while and uses up a fair amount of olive oil.

When cooking polenta, always use double the quantity of water to polenta: so ½ cup polenta, one cup water. One cup polenta, two cups water etc.

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