SIBA’S PESTO-STUFFED LAMB RIB CHOPS

I love this carb-free meal and my friends who are banting always appreciate my effort to consider their preferences. It’s a great surprise biting into these lamb rib chops as the stuffing is so unexpected. I like mine cooked medium with the fat slightly crispy, but if you prefer yours more rare, then just reduce the cooking time.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 MIN

COOKING TIME: 12 MIN

SERVES 4

12 lamb rib chops, frenched

2 cloves garlic, crushed

20ml homemade pesto

Sea salt and freshly ground

Black pepper

15 Olive oil

STUFFING

60ml basil pesto

15ml pine nuts, toasted and very roughly chopped

Pinch of salt

COURGETTE ‘PASTA’

15ml olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

800g Courgettes, cut using a veg peeler with ridges to make pasta spirals

6 sprigs thyme leaves

50g pine nuts, toasted, to serve

15ml basil leaves, to serve

METHOD

Make a slit on the fat side of the chops for the stuffing. Mix the garlic, pesto, salt and pepper together, and rub onto each chop on both sides. Using a teaspoon, mix the stuffing ingredients together and stuff a teaspoonful into the slit of each chop.

Heat a large non-stick pan, add the oil and wait until it’s sizzling hot. Place the chops into the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until medium. Cover with foil and set aside until serving time.

For the courgette ‘pasta’, heat the oil and sauté the garlic. Add the courgette spirals and cook for 3 minutes until just cooked, taking care not to overcook. Strip the thyme leaves from their stems and add to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the lamb chops, and top with toasted pine nuts and basil leaves.

Siba’s tip…

When frenching chops, I normally leave about 5cm of rib bone totally bare. This leaves the round of meat with a thin strip of fat on the side.

Some people like to cut away so much that only a small ‘lollipop’ of meat is left. I, however, tend to be more generous, leaving all the meat and a little fat. This dish also goes well with a Cape Malay relish.

Siba Mtongana is a passionate and dynamic local celebrity chef and food enthusiast who brought style and charisma to the South Africa television food scene. All recipes are courtesy of her popular book, Welcome to My Table.

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