Grilled meats are quite popular in Morocco, and you'll often see grills set up outside neighborhood butcher shops so customers can have small purchases of meat or offal cooked to order for a quick meal. Salt and cumin are usually offered on the side for meats cooked with little or no seasoning; this includes lamb chops.
When time allows, however, I much prefer lamb chops prepared at home. An easy Moroccan marinade of garlic, lemon juice, mint and Moroccan spices adds tangy, zesty flavor, helping to transform the chops into a memorable family or company meal.
Select rib or loin lamb chops. Allow the meat to marinate at least several hours (overnight is better) for tender, flavorful results. If weather or time doesn't allow for grilling, you can broil or pan-sear the meat instead.
Moroccan grilled meats are often served with Moroccan Mint Tea. Consider adding the following side dishes for a complete meal:
- 2 lbs./1kg. lamb chops
- 1/4 cup spearmint leaves (fresh chopped)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (fresh chopped)
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves (pressed)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Optional: 1/2 tsp. hot pepper or hot paprika ground
Ahead of Time
- Wash the lamb chops and drain thoroughly.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the herbs, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and spices. Add the lamb chops and mix well to coat the meat evenly.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate the lamb chops. For best results, allow the lamb to marinate for at least five to six hours, or as long as overnight.
Cook the Lamb Chops
- Remove the lamb chops from the fridge and allow the meat to come to room temperature while you heat your grill.
- Lightly oil the grill rack or a grilling basket to prevent the meat from sticking.
- When the coals are hot, arrange the meat on the rack or in the grilling basket without crowding. Plan to cook the lamb chops in batches if necessary.
- Cook the lamb chops for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cuts of meat. Be careful of flames from fat drippings, which can scorch the meat.
- Serve immediately, or hold the lamb chops warm for a short while by wrapping in aluminum foil and leaving to the side of the grill away from direct heat.