This best way to describe this Lamb Chops with Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper) White Beans recipe from Crave by Ed Smith is rainy day comfort food. Offering the satisfaction of deep umami flavours with a cheesy and creamy character, it provides a great mixture of textures and flavours.
This is the kind of recipe that really showcases the flavour of lamb, a favourite meat in our household, but it’s not as popular across the UK as it once was. We produce really excellent quality lamb in the UK so do give this a recipe a try, if you’re looking for a great way to cook lamb chops.
Read our full review of Crave by Ed Smith to find out more about the cookbook, including two other recipes we are sharing on Kavey Eats.
Lamb Chops with Cacio E Pepe White Beans
Serve with something like purple sprouting or Tenderstem broccoli, curly kale, or a side salad of bitter or peppery leaves.
- 4 lamb chops or 2 thick Barnsley chops (about 400–500g /14oz–1lb 2oz in total
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 400 gram (14oz) can haricot (navy) beans, drained
- 200 ml scant 1 cup water
- 60 g (2¼oz) butter, cubed
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 60 g (2¼oz) Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated
- Blanched greens or bitter/ peppery-leafed salad, to serve
Collate all the ingredients including the greens or salad, as you should cook both chops and beans pretty much simultaneously and neither takes long.
Stand the chops on their fatty edges in a (still cold) frying pan (skillet), large enough that it’ll still hold the chops once sat flat. Place on a low– medium heat and gradually warm up so as to cook the fat until it’s golden and soft – much of which will seep (‘render’) out. Resist cooking too quickly or at too high a temperature; it’s a gentle process that should take 5 minutes or more.
While this is happening, bash the garlic cloves to flatten them then add to the pan (keeping the skin on to prevent burning), along with the sprigs of rosemary. Let those cook away for a few minutes to release their flavours into the ever increasing pool of lamb fat. Then, once the fatty edges are golden and soft, push the chops onto their flatter sides, turn up the heat and cook for about 90 seconds on each side, basting regularly with the flavoursome oil, until the chops are browned and buzzing with hot oils and juices. (If ready before the beans, remove from the heat and rest on a warm plate for a couple of minutes.)
Also while the lamb chops are standing, add the drained beans to a wide frying pan or saucepan and set over a low–medium heat. Pour in the water and let them warm gently – so the liquid begins to simmer but not boil, and therefore the beans remain intact. Scatter the cubes of butter over and around the beans and allow them to melt, before sprinkling the black pepper over the top. Shake the pan vigorously so the butter and cooking liquid become one, then add the cheese, again waiting for it to melt before shaking and stirring to emulsify everything.
Puddle the beans and their cheesy, peppery sauce in a bowl or onto a plate with a rim, add the lamb and greens and tuck in.
The recipe for cheese and pepper white (haricot) beans is also worth remembering in its own right; it’s a really rich and comforting side dish that you could enjoy with pork chops, grilled gammon, or a steak, for example.
Check the main book review for our reader offer of a free Crave e-booklet of extra recipes, available for anyone who purchases the cookbook by the 23rd July.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Crave by Ed Smith: Recipes Arranged by Flavour, to Suit Your Mood and Appetite from publisher Hardie Grant. Book photography by Sam A Harris. Our home-cooking photography (top) by Nicky Bramley.