The 80’s was well-known for Cyndi Lauper, John Hughes movies, Madonna influenced fashions, neon colors, curried chicken salad and new wave music. While listening to music artist, Toto, famously known for their one hit wonder “Africa”, my culinary senses started to tingle. Most Jamaicans and general Westerners are typically either indifferent and/or dumbfounded on African cuisine. According to the Betumi website  (www.betumi.com), the culinary history of sub-Saharan African cuisine has not been fully explored and are “intensely frustrated over a general failure…and biased, distorted popular media coverage [sub-Saharan African cuisine]…(Osseo-Asare, 2003).” Being tremendously influenced by these articles posted, I realized that Africa has been underrated for its vast use of spices, simple cooking instruments and tasty culinary treats. North African cuisine like Mediterranean cuisine makes use of different combination of spices and herbs. They primarily use products such as olives, apricots, dates and nuts since the country has middle eastern influences. Their cuisine is known for being a mixture of sweet and spicy which is none like any other.

Try these recipes below for a luxurious gourmet experience without the hassle and without breaking the bank.

 

 

LAMB CHOPS IN A CITRUS-ROSEMARY SAUCE

 

Ingredients:

4    Lamb Chops*

1 cup  Pineapple Juice

3/4 cup  Orange Juice

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. Freshly cracked black pepper

1  Onion, minced

2 cloves  Garlic, finely minced

4 sprigs  Rosemary

1/4 cup  Good white wine (use only what you would personally drink, AVOID “cooking wines” as they contain salts and other harmful chemicals plus they are horrible tasting to boot!)

2 Tbsp.  Olive Oil

1 tsp. Unsalted butter

Method:

In a resealable plastic bag or glass (Pyrex) container, place the lamb chops in a single layer. Add each rosemary sprig underneath each chop. In a separate bowl, add the pineapple juice, orange juice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Reserving 1/2 cup of the marinade, add the rest of the marinade to the lamb chops. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning the lamb once halfway. In a wide frying pan on medium heat (Gas 4), add olive oil and butter until melted and coating the bottom of the pan completely. Remove lamb chops from marinade and pat dry, leaving the onion and garlic pieces on it and add to pan. Cook for 4 minutes or until blood seeps out from the top layer. Turn lamb over and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove lamb from pan and place on a plate. Cover plate completely with foil and rest it for 5-8 minutes. Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and add the white wine. using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan and gently stir the sauce. Stir until it boils and reduce heat to low. Let sauce reduce by half, stirring occasionally until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Take sauce off heat and pour over lamb chops. Serve with toasted french bread sliced lengthwise and spread with garlic aoili. Serves 2.

*Lamb chops are available in the meat section of your local supermarket and locally grown organic lamb meat is grown at Longville Farms in Clarendon. Make friends with your local farmer and butcher since they will notify you firsthand when fresh meat and specialty cuts are available. Getting the best cuts of meat will certainly make a significant difference in your meal preparations.

  

GARLIC AOILI

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp.  Olive oil

1 clove  Garlic

1/4 tsp. parsley, chopped

1/4 tsp. Butter

Method:

In small saucepan on low heat (Gas 1), add oil and butter and heat gently. When heated, add garlic and parsley. Stir for a minute, ensuring that the garlic does not burn. Take pan off heat and leave for 10 mins for flavors to infuse. Pour desired amount on toasted french bread. Enjoy. 

Lamb chops with a Citrus Rosemary sauce served with garlic aoili crostinis

Lamb chops with a Citrus Rosemary sauce served with garlic aoili crostinis

 

Tomorrow, the Gourmand will post another Moroccan recipe, Apricot and Date couscous. For more North African recipes and culinary tips, check out www.betumi.com . So take a trip to the sandy, sub-Saharan oasis of North Africa without having to leave the comfort of your home.

– The Jamaican Gourmand

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