Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Sauce and Saffron Pilaf
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 to 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 freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound farm spinach (available in bundles rather than bags in produce section), washed and dried
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the broiler and arrange the oven rack 8 inches from the broiler.
Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt, then add the orzo and stir. Toast the pasta until golden brown, 3 minutes, then add the rice and stir to combine. Add the saffron threads and stir in the stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the rice until tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.
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 to 1 cup of juice is produced. Stir in the wine, Worcestershire, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half, about 6 minutes. Pour a little sauce into a small bowl, stir in the cornstarch, and then pour the mixture into the sauce. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove and discard the peppercorns, whole cloves and the bay leaf.
Arrange the chops on a broiler pan and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or only 1 minute on each side for pink centers.
When the chops go into the broiler, heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and let it wilt. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste.
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