Working in an office, as I do, I observe all kinds of hierarchies. There is the obvious boss, manager, worker that has stood the test of time in most organisations. In this digital age, there is the techno pyramid, with a black clad Head of IT ruling supreme, the workings of the organisation totally dependant on him and his code punching underlings. Outriders to these are the maverick rainmakers. These are guys who write their own rules. They can afford to ignore corporate standards, run up big expenses and never work on Fridays. They bring in business and can do pretty much as they please. While they bring in the business, they don’t bring in their lunch so we can forget them for this exercise.
There is one office pecking order that is quite entertaining. That is the social order in the lunchroom. Currently the pomegranate and quinoa salad can guarantee you a seat at the head of the table. No longer is it good enough to crack the Tupperware on a mung bean and goji berry dhal. That is so last September. If you have the temerity to arrive with some “pulled pork that the wife prepared”, be ready for derision. No, if you want to elevate your status during the dinner hour, prepare this recipe for Spring Lamb Chump with Cumin, served with a fruity couscous. It is delicious when cooked and almost as tasty the next day.
Side note on couscous: The darling of the vegetarian brigade has a lot to recommend it. However, it needs flavour added. On it’s own, it reminds me of eating wet cardboard. With the right added ingredients, it is a flavour sensation.
Ingredients for Spring Lamb Chump with Cumin
Enough to serve four and to have two cold lunches for the following day.
- 3 spring lamb chumps
- 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of runny honey
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
Side note on Lamb Chump: Most people don’t know lamb chump. You probably know side-loin chops. These are chops from towards the back of the animal. The chump is the meat from which the chops are cut. Ask your butcher. If he is a real butcher, he will be able to cut you some. If he is buying his meat in pre-packaged, you need a new butcher.
To prepare, dry fry the cumin seeds, tossing them regularly to prevent burning and to get a decent photo.
Grind the seeds to a powder and mix with the honey and soy. Slice the lamb, through the fat to make a diamond pattern.
This looks nice and also gives a guide for carving across the grain. Carving across the grain is the correct thing to do.
Place the chumps on a rack and roast in a 200ºC oven for 30 minutes. That will give you medium rare lamb. If you like it well done, don’t bother cooking this as I hate to see a good piece of meat ruined.
Let the lamb rest for about ten to fifteen minutes, while you prepare the couscous.
- 500 grammes of couscous
- 750 millilitres of good quality chicken or vegetable stock
- A tablespoon of raisins
- A tablespoon of sultanas
- 100 grammes of green beans
- A red chilli
- A handful of fresh coriander
- Salt and pepper to season
Add the raisins and sultanas to the stock. Heat the stock until boiling. Add the stock to the couscous.
Chop the beans and par cook them. Chop the coriander and the chilli.
Add all to the couscous. Taste and adjust the seasoning. By adjust, I mean add plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well.
Carve the lamb into thickish slices as suggested by the diamond pattern cut in the fat.
The lamb chump is a lovely cut and it is really well worth seeking it out. It is beautiful served warm. It is far more satisfying to sit with your colleagues at lunchtime and ask, “What have you got for lunch today?” Then see who’s the real lunchtime chump…