Last weekend was my 26th birthday. I'm over a quarter of a century old. Let's all stop and soak that in for a little bit.
Although I'm officially on the "other side" of my 20's, I'm having a blast regardless. I celebrated the weekend at my parents' lake house sans my twin. Oh, did I tell you I was a twin? Yep. I have a twin sister who is 13 minutes younger than me.
This year, however, was the first time in our lives we've celebrated a birthday separately. She headed down to the coast with her long-term boyfriend to celebrate just the two of them.
I'm not gonna lie, it was a tad strange celebrating without her, but I finally got to experience a birthday like a normal kid- it was my day!
We spent the weekend boating, tanning, and eating. Pretty much the perfect day.
This past Monday I made a protein I don't typically cook, but love to eat, especially when I find it on nice restaurant menus.
I picked up some relatively lean Lamb Rib Chops from H.E.B. and made Moroccan Lamb Chops with Couscous. You may have noticed I'm on a slow cooker fix right now because this is about the 4th slow cooker meal I've made in a little over a week. Call me "Slow Cooker Sam" from now on because I think I just found my cooking niche.
Moroccan Lamb Chops with Couscous
Ingredients for Lamb Chops:
- 4 lamb rib chops. The original recipe calls for 3 lb lamb shoulder chops, trimmed of most fat, however I didn't find any at the store that week.
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- salt & pepper
- 7 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of dry red wine
- 1/2 cup of chicken stock
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- Season the lamb with cumin, salt, and pepper. In a large frying pan, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb once the oil is hot and sear on both sides until golden brown. If you're using the rib chops, this will only be about 3 to 4 minutes. If you're using the lamb shoulder chops, it should be between 8 and 10 minutes.
- Transfer the lamb to a plate once done.
- Pour most off the fat from the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour in wine to dislodge brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Stir in 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
- Transfer contents of the pan to the slow cooker. Add the carrots and place the lamb on top.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Ingredients for Couscous:
- 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking couscous
- 1 2/3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup diced dried apricots
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup slice almonds
- 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped mint
- In a small saucepan, bring 1 2/3 cups of chicken stock to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Remove from heat.
- Put the couscous and apricots in a large bowl and stir in hot stock. Cover the bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.
- The liquid should be absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, pepper, half of the almonds and half of the mint.
- Toss to mix well.
J and I loved the lamb and couscous! The meat was so tender and moist, and the couscous was a nice change from our normal orzo-spaghetti- rice rotation.