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Recipe File

Rosemary Lamb Chops

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This recipe for pan seared lamb chops gets its flavor and aroma from the use of orange juice, pineapple juice, and rosemary in its marinade.

The lamb chops used in this recipe can be either shoulder chops or loin chops. The pictures show two shoulder chops being prepared.

The ingredients for the marinade are the same as for the sauce so gather together: 1 cup orange juice mixed with 1 cup pineapple juice, 4 stems of fresh rosemary, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 medium onion (finely chopped), 1/2 teaspoon table salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme.

Mix everything except the rosemary together. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the resulting mixture for creating the sauce later.

Pour the unreserved mixture into a large resealable plastic bag and position two to four lamb chops into the marinade. Sandwich the fresh rosemary between the chops and reseal the bag (working as much air out as possible). Place the bag on a plate into the refrigerator to marinade for at least one hour and no more than four. The pineapple juice contains enzymes that will tenderize the lamb by breaking down the protein structures. Marinating too long may result in an undesirable mushy texture.

After marinating, remove the lamb from the bag and pat dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels. You can leave any herbs or onions left sticking to the surface of the chop for caramelization and inclusion in the sauce.

Heat a large pan with one to two tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil (the type that doesn't smoke at low temperatures). The amount of oil will be dictated by the dimensions of your pan. You want just enough oil to evenly coat the pan when the oil is hot. Once the oil is up to temperature (the oil flows freely, the surface of the oil shimmers, and the edges begin to emit slight wisps of smoke), place the lamb chops into the pan without crowding. Leave the chops alone for four minutes.

Because we didn't remove the onions on the surface of the lamb chops, the onions become caramelized and provide a distinct oniony sweet fragrance to this dish. Unfortunately, they also prevent the lamb from developing a beautiful sear. I usually, scrape off the excess onions from the second side before flipping the chop over so a sear is formed on that side. The onions that have been scraped off will caramelize while the chop is searing. So, scrape off the top side of the chops and flip them over when the first four minutes have elapsed.

After another four minutes, measure the internal temperature of each chop. Remove them if they have hit 140°F (60°C). If your chops are thicker, then simply pour the reserved marinade mixture into the pan and allow the chops to simmer over medium to medium-low heat until they reach 140°F. (Check the temperature every minute to two minutes.) After the chops have been removed, bring the heat up to medium-high and deglazed the pan with the reserved marinade. Just use a wooden spoon to scrape up any little bits on the pan. They should come off in the boiling liquid.

Reduce the sauce until it it thickened. A good way to identify how thick a sauce has become is to run a spoon or spatula through the sauce and see how long the resulting trail is filled back in with the sauce. The sauce is ready when a trail remains for several seconds.

Serve with sauce spooned on top of the lamb chop.

Rosemary Lamb Chops (serves two to four)
1 cup (235 mL) orange juicemixreserve 3/4 cup marinade
marinade in refrigerator 1-4 hours
1 cup (235 mL) pineapple juice
2 cloves garlicmince
1 medium (110 g) onionchop
1/2 tsp. (3 g) table salt
1 tsp. (2.1 g) ground black pepper
1 tsp. (1 g) dried thyme
2 to 4 lamb chops
4 stems fresh rosemary

Rosemary Lamb Chops
3/4 cup reserved marinadesimmer
remove chops at 140°F (60°C)
deglaze pan and reduce
2 to 4 marinated lamp chopspat drysear 4 min. per side
1 Tbs. (15 mL) extra virgin olive oilheat

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Written by Michael Chu
Published on
25 comments on Rosemary Lamb Chops:(Post a comment)

On April 26, 2006 at 12:09 AM, BlueShift (guest) said...
Subject: What's that yummy smell, Shari?
Mmmm, perfect timing, just as i was wondering what I was having for dinner tonight.
I'll be picking up some chops on the way home now! I can almost smell them cooking now...

On April 26, 2006 at 06:25 AM, Yang-May Ooi (guest) said...
Subject: £35,000 prize for showing engineers in a great light
Hi Michael

The name of your blog/ site intrigued me so I came by to have a look. Just the other day I saw that a prize is being offered by Civil Engineering institutions in the UK for writers to show engineers in a great light - I thought you might like to take a look at it at

By the way, I am not at all connected with the above prize - I am a Malaysian-born writer based in London. I've published two "lawyer in periol" thrillers THE FLAME TREE and MINDGAME and I have just launched my "fusion" lit blog at where I share my Eastern and Western perspective on writing and the arts. I was tickled by the engineers offering that prize as there are lots of thrillers about lawyers but not so many on accountants or engineers etc!

I know this comment isn't directly relevant to your recipe post - so apologies about that - but I thought it might be the quickest way to make contact and share this info with you and your readers.

PS. I have put a recipe on my blog from my Grandma for soy sauce chicken you might like to have a look at.

All the best
Yang-May Ooi

On May 08, 2006 at 10:25 PM, blork (guest) said...
Subject: olive oil clarification
Great recipe. But I question your comment on the olive oil. ALL olive oil smokes at a fairly low temperature -- the quality of the oil has no bearing on the smoke point. In fact, the "higher quality" olive oils are usually kept for non-cooking uses, such as in salads or drizzled directly onto already-cooked pizzas or appetizers. Selecting a "top-shelf" olive oil for cooking is pointless, as the heating destroys the subtle differences that put it on that top shelf in the first place.

I would suggest using any decent olive oil for this recipe and save the expensive extra-virgin stuff for raw uses. Although the smoke point is "relatively low" it is still high enough for searing meat. Alternatively, use grapeseed oil, which has a high smoke point, a clean taste, and the same omega-3 and other health qualities as olive oil.

Keep up the good work!

On August 10, 2006 at 09:38 AM, DrObviousSo said...
Yup, I have to agree on the olive oil thing. I keep a large Costco jug of 3rd press for cooking, and a small bottle of 1st press for dipping bread in.

On August 10, 2006 at 12:22 PM, Michael Chu said...
It is true that many olive oils have a lower smoke point (compared to other oils), but to say that ALL (extra virgin) olive oils have low smoke point is a little misleading. For example, Bertolli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a smoke point above 400°F. For me, unless I'm doing a stir fry in a wok (in which case I wouldn't be using an extra virgin oil), I'm not working in that temperature range. Pan frying with extra virgin is possible and, even with the heat, does impart a pleasant flavor to the food in the process.

On January 01, 2007 at 10:33 PM, CollegeStudent (guest) said...
Subject: Question
What do you suggest serving with the lamb chops?

On January 02, 2007 at 10:12 AM, GaryProtein said...
Subject: Re: Question
CollegeStudent wrote:
What do you suggest serving with the lamb chops?

Garlic mashed potatoes, Swiss chard, and baby carrots.

On January 24, 2007 at 10:51 PM, Artur D.U2TY5 (guest) said...
Subject: Rosemary Lamb Chops
Thanks for the recipe, it was just like the picture, my son told me they are the best lamb chops he ever ate bones and all; me too .

On February 21, 2007 at 04:17 PM, Garland (guest) said...
Subject: Lamb Chop recipe
Your recipe did list the temperature to heat the pan for the first part of the cooking. Later the recipe states to "allow the chops to simmer over medium to medium-low heat" and then later to "bring the heat up to medium-high and deglaze the pan..." So, is the initail heat supposed to be at least medium-high?

On February 22, 2007 at 09:30 PM, GaryProtein said...
I just have to add this. I love rosemary. I like to coat fresh rosemary sprigs (10-12" long) with a brushing of Grapeseed oil (little to no taste of its own and high smokepoint) and then bake it for about 30-40 minutes on a cookie sheet or other shallow pan at 350F while everything else is cooking. When it comes out, it is completely dessicated, crisp and I pull the leaves leaves off the sprigs and eat them all by themselves. It is like eating tiny shoestring potato chips, but with flavor. It may sound wierd, but if you like rosemary, I promise you'll like this. You can also pull off the leaves and sprinkle on top of your food.

On March 01, 2007 at 05:10 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Lamb Chop recipe
Garland wrote:
Your recipe did list the temperature to heat the pan for the first part of the cooking. Later the recipe states to "allow the chops to simmer over medium to medium-low heat" and then later to "bring the heat up to medium-high and deglaze the pan..." So, is the initail heat supposed to be at least medium-high?

That's more or less up to the pan and stove you have (in fact, all the "temperature" recommendations are subject to your stove and pan). In this case we just want to bring the oil up to temperature - somewhere around 300-325°F or a bit more. I use medium heat for this on my gas range and saute pan.

On March 20, 2007 at 05:32 PM, Anya (guest) said...
Subject: Nice!!
I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that I came across your site. I have never seen anything like it. Very easy to follow instructions and I absolutely love the pictures!!

Great recipe - chops turned out amazing!

On January 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM, AnOldEngineer (guest) said...
Subject: Rosemary Lamb Chops - reference to Grapeseed oil.
As I have never heard of Grapeseed oil but have Rapeseed oil I wonder if it was a typo?. Also, in England (UK) and France "Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil" has been introduced - this is no good for deep frying but excellent for all other cooking methods and it is claimed at being very healthy - low in saturated fat (half that of olive oil) and high in balanced levels of Omega 3, 6 + 9 oils and vitamin E. It is simply made by cold pressing the rapeseed. Nothing else is added. If you use it to make roast potatoes they turn out golden and are dry and crisp - not soggy. Well worth tying. Strangely, the oil is much more expensive than the ordinary rapeseed oil.
As a first time visitor I am still dazed and in awe of this wonderful site. Thanks.

On January 28, 2008 at 01:32 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Rosemary Lamb Chops - reference to Grapeseed oil.
AnOldEngineer wrote:
As I have never heard of Grapeseed oil but have Rapeseed oil I wonder if it was a typo?

Probably not a typo - grapeseed oil is from the seeds of grapes, often after they have been used for another purpose such as winemaking. Rapeseed oil comes from the seeds of a leafy green plant usually grown as feed, for oil production, or use in chinese cooking. Canola oil is the most common type of rapeseed oil in the U.S.

On April 20, 2008 at 06:19 PM, markj99 (guest) said...
Subject: Lamb chops / grapeseed oil
I often find myself reading recipes here, and did again today while searching for other ways to cook lamb chops. I usually BBQ them, but I think I'm going to try this one tonight.

I wanted to add to the question/comment about "grapeseed oil". I'm sure it wasn't a typo, since grapeseed oil is wonderful for frying. It used to be next to impossible to find in markets in the California, but lately I'm seeing it more and more, and I think for good reason: It is GREAT for high heat cooking, such as searing meats, since it has a very high smoke point of 485F! I don't know of any other oil that can go that high, except for maybe motor oil. :-)

An although it doesn't have much flavor on it's own, that can be a good thing. It just does it's job of enhancing thermal transfer and lubrication, and otherwise stays out of the way.

Another big plus, in my book, is that it is oil derived from what would otherwise be a waste-product of wine and vinegar production. Because the seeds are often considered "trash", they can be obtained very cheaply, which may be the only reason it isn't otherwise prohibitively expensive, since it takes a huge number of seeds to get a pint of oil.

Thanks again for the recipe post!

BTW: If you successfully enter the confirmation code and then click 'preview', instead of 'submit', you have to enter another code when you actually submit. And on top of that, with the Mozilla Firefox browser, something is getting cached and neither the prior code nor the new challenge code works. So I had to back all the way out and re-enter my post. I don't know if it's a browser-specific problem, but figured you'd like to know about it.

On August 11, 2008 at 09:13 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Grapeseed oil
Indeed, grapeseed is available and wonderful for no-smoke, neutral flavor saute. I sell a liter bottle in my winery tasting room for $11.00. Wish I could say we made it from our grapeseeds leftover after fermentation, but squeezing each of those seeds for the .5 ml oil it contains is too time consuming. I'll get my assistant winemaker on that project this crush. Most of the oil I have seen comes from Italy; ours end up as compost.

On May 31, 2009 at 03:08 PM, wheelbarrowman (guest) said...
Subject: lamb chops
ace post. I'm probably not the most 'analytical of cooks'.. But I'm planning on cooking this recipe but substituting goat for lamb.

I'll put a story up on my blog -

On August 23, 2010 at 03:50 AM, Martin Dep (guest) said...
Subject: Can't stop mouth watering now
Love cooking for Engineers forum cuz I'm personally a computer engineer, I'm planning to join a gym this recipe truly suits my taste buds and my fitness.


Martin dep

On October 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM, mtangel (guest) said...
Subject: Lambchops recipe
This was a stellar recipe! I get my lambchops from Costco, small meaty really thick ones. I loved that I only had to pick up the fresh rosemary! So easy, and the reduction was delicious! I made a couple of homemade frozen dinners out of the remainder. I also served a green salad, boiled tiny red potatoes, and steamed asparagus. GREAT meal!

On October 26, 2010 at 03:07 PM, SciencyCook said...
I agree with mtangel! Not only am a lamb chop fanatic, but I love to use rosemary every chance I can get! Speaking of this recipe, I actually have lamb chops in my freezer. I think this is a sign that I should whip them out of the freezer and utilize this ultra tasty recipe. I'll be sure to take some pictures as soon as the recipe is complete. Thanks for posting! :D

On April 25, 2011 at 03:27 PM, txagsmom (guest) said...
Subject: Rosemary lamb chops
I wanted to introduce ginger into this recipe, so I made a hybrid of two different recipes. I used the ingredients from Chu's recipe (minus the ground pepper) and added 2 Tbs of Mackay's Spiced Ginger Preserves into the marinade/sauce ingredients. I marinated as directed, browned the chops in the olive oil and removed them to a shallow baking dish. I reduced the sauce as directed, poured it over the chops, and baked them at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes. Outstanding! I served the lamb with yellow rice and a mix of edamame and sugar snap peas, and paired it all with a pinot noir.

On May 07, 2011 at 05:30 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Rosemary Lovers
Thank you for the lovely recipe to try.
Another lovely taste treat is to take your fresh rosemary stems (about the size of skewers) and thread marinated cubes of lamb, chicken, beef, fish or whole shelled prawns/shrimp alternated with marinated vegetables of your choice. We like mushrooms wrapped in bacon, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes. For those of you who like rosemary but don't want the taste too strong, strip some of the leaves but leave the tip and enough leaves to flavor the kabob.
Bon Appétit!

On May 07, 2011 at 05:34 PM, HIprof (guest) said...
Subject: Rosemary Lovers
The comment about the kabobs above was by me. I'll try to join the site.

On February 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM, Esty (guest) said...
Subject: Lamb
Can I keep this in a 140 degree oven if I'll need to make in advance? Or will this ruin the meat?
Thank you!

On February 05, 2012 at 02:21 PM, Dilbert said...
it's just a question of time . . .

perhaps 20-30 minutes wouldn't do too much harm.

3-4 hours could be a different issue.

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