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Meliz Berg’s Lamb Chops

Grill or barbecue these lamb chops marinated in sweet red pepper paste, crushed garlic, milk and spices from Meliz Berg's new book, Meliz's Kitchen

Introduction

When marinating meat for the mangal (barbecue), there are two things that help to tenderise it really well – for chicken, it’s yoghurt, and for lamb cutlets or chops, it’s milk. The lamb only needs a couple of hours in the marinade for the milk to really work its magic and leave you with the most succulent meat going. Try not to overcook the lamb, and make sure you eat the cutlets hot and fresh off the grill. They are delicious dipped into my Ezme Salatası (Chilli Sauce), or served alongside the Domatesli Bulgur Pilavı (Tomato Bulgur Wheat Rice) and Cacık (Yoghurt, Cucumber & Mint Dip).

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Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
1 tbsp Turkish sweet red pepper paste (tatlı biber salçası)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pul biber
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
100 ml milk
12 lamb cutlets
1 tsp sea salt flakes
½ tsp coarse black pepper

Method

Add the crushed garlic to a large dish. Add the sweet red pepper paste, olive oil, pul biber, paprika, cumin, dried oregano and milk and mix everything together to create the marinade. Place the cutlets in between two sheets of plastic film or non-stick baking paper and very lightly bash them with a rolling pin to flatten them a little. Add the cutlets to the dish, coating them on both sides with the marinade. Cover the dish with plastic film and put it in the fridge to chill for 4 hours, turning the cutlets over after 2 hours of chilling time to ensure they fully take on the flavour of the marinade. Remove the cutlets from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

On the Barbecue

Light your barbecue. Make sure the coals are very hot, but mostly white, and that the grill is also very hot.

Give the lamb a final swish in the marinade, letting any excess drip off back into the dish and cook the cutlets for 3–5 minutes on each side, until the fat has rendered and is crispy and the cutlets are beautifully browned and lightly charred in places. Feel free to adjust the timing depending on how well-done you like your lamb. Season the cutlets with the salt and pepper as they cook. Serve immediately.

Under the Grill

If you don’t have access to a barbecue, preheat your grill to high.

Line a baking sheet with foil, then lay a grill rack on top. Give the lamb a final swish in the marinade, letting any excess drip off back into the dish and lay the cutlets out on the grill rack. Cook under the preheated grill for 3–5 minutes on each side, depending on how well-done you like your lamb. Season with the salt and pepper as they cook and serve immediately.

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