North African lamb chops with minted couscous recipe

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North African lamb chops is made special by the chermoula, a North African herb sauce that can be made a day ahead. The addition of preserved lemons is lovely, but if you don’t have any on hand, they can be omitted.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


  • 6 bone-in lamb loin chops Salt
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon peel
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 11⁄3 cups uncooked couscous
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
How to Make It
  1. Season the lamb chops with salt and place in a shallow dish.
  2. To make the chermoula, combine the cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika, thyme, turmeric, lemon peel, oil, lemon juice, and pepper flakes in a food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour three-quarters of the chermoula over the lamb and rub in. Cover and let marinate for up to 10 hours in the refrigerator. Store the remaining chermoula in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before serving).
  4. To make the couscous, bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the couscous, dried mint, and salt. Cover and turn off the heat. Let steam for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. When slightly cooled, fold in the lemon zest and juice and the fresh mint, reserving some mint for garnish.
  5. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chops from the marinade, wiping off any excess. Arrange half of the chops in the pan in a single layer, taking care not to crowd them. Cook until well browned on both sides, turning as needed, about 8 minutes total. Repeat with the other half of the chops.
  6. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes before serving with the minted couscous and the remaining chermoula, garnished with the reserved fresh mint.

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