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Several days ago I had made Uzbek marinated lamb kebabs, which were a delicious hit, and I recommend that you check out that recipe if you're in the mood for more lamb after this. After I made this recipe, I realized that I didn't use all the lamb that I had available. I had gotten a large piece at the store, and I had used barely half of it in the Uzbek dish. As a result, I had to come up with another lamb dash, and thus a lovely pomegranate-marinated lamb dish emerged to capitalize on this opportunity.
While this pomegranate dish is marinaded for quite some time (like the Uzbek dish), instead of producing the strong and tangy flavor of the Uzbek lamb, it instead produces a sweet—yet still deliciously savory—combination of pomegranate and lamb, with the wonderful freshness of mint, the sharpness of pepper, and the good, pungent flavor of garlic. The lamb is superbly tender after it's marinated, and the recipe is easy to make (some marinating time excluded). All that has to be done is marinate the meat, and then grill or broil it. If one wants to marry it to the sauce after reduction, that's a bonus, but it isn't necessary per se in my opinion. It goes very well with simple side dishes like rice or some vegetables, making it even easier for a meal. If one has leftovers, I advise to continue marinating the lamb in its marinade, so that it will continue to become even more delectable when later consumed.
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I have adapted this recipe from that of Anna von Bremzen/John Welchman's Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook.
- 1 3/4 cups pomegranate juice
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 crushed black peppercorns or 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
- 2 lbs lamb, either in chops or cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
- First, begin the marinating process. The meat must marinate from 4 to 12 hours. Combine pomegranate juice, either crushed or finely minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a glass or ceramic bowl. Then add the lamb and cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare the coals for grilling, generally about 30 minutes before putting on the meat, or preheat the broiler.
- Remove the chops from the marinade. Optionally, pour the marinade into a saucepan (I would recommend a medium one since it tends to overflow when boiling), and heat this over high heat for about 20 minutes, until it is reduced to 1/3 of a cup. This can be used as a basting liquid, possibly combined with some olive oil, or as a sauce for the meat. However, personally I find this step to be unnecessary, the meat is very good without any need for basting.
- Cook the meat on the broiler or grill, to your desired level of doneness. Afterwards, when the meat has rested, serve, with mint leaves and pomegranate seeds for garnish if desired. This is highly flexible and goes with a wide array of side dishes.
© 2017 Ryan Thomas