Grilled Greek-style lamb lollipops with perfect hummus

Greek food and Thai food—the two cuisine types I crave most often. Luckily, we have some really great Greek restaurants in Rochester that consistently deliver great flavor. But every now and then, I really love making a Greek feast at home. This usually comes in the form of pitas with chicken or steak, tzatziki, grilled onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, the works. But this time, we used some of the same great ingredients to go in a totally different direction. These petite lamb chops, or lollipops, are my favorite way to eat lamb, because they're so easy to cook, they're tender and full of flavor, and they're much less gamey than other cuts of the lamb. Lamb chops were actually what converted me into a lamb lover (after a couple of years spent traumatized—because bad lamb is bad bad bad), so consider them a gateway of sorts. Topped with herbaceous, lemony gremolata, and served alongside endless pita bread and hummus, this Greek feast is top notch.

Grilled lamb lollipops

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer
Ideal cookware
: grill pan or cast iron skillet (or of course outside on the grill!), but otherwise searing in a frying pan will work
12 lamb chops, cut about ½ inch thick (bigger is fine—they'll just need to sear for slightly longer)
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup olive oil
2 T (heaping) chopped dill
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 T olive oil for coating grill pan
Greek gremolata for serving (recipe below)
A little bit of chopped parsley and dill for serving

Marinate the lamb chops in a mixture of the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate for 2-4 hours in the fridge (longer is fine). One hour before you're ready to cook, pull the lamb from the fridge to let it come to room temperature. Fun fact: you always want to cook meat, especially red meat, at room temperature. Second fun fact, while we're here: you always want to let meat sit and rest before cutting and eating for 5-10 minutes to keep all the good juices inside of the meat.

To cook, coat a grill pan with a drizzle of olive oil, and turn stove to medium-high (almost high) heat. When the oil just starts to wisp, that's when you're ready to sear the chops. Place lamb chops on the grill pan, and depending on the size of your lamb chops, sear on first side for just a minute or two, then flip and grill for another minute or two (this is for a medium rare doneness). Then move lamb chops onto a plate and cover loosely with foil. This is where they will rest for at least five minutes. When ready to serve, place lamb chops on a serving platter and drizzle with Greek gremolata. Then sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill. You may also serve it with grilled pita bread and hummus (recipe below), as well as grilled cherry tomatoes.

Greek gremolata

Yields about 1 cup
Large handful of parsley leaves
Large handful of dill
½ cup olive oil
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Put all the ingredients into a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment. Pulse and mix until smooth and fully incorporated, adding more olive oil to thin it out if need be. This is really a taste-as-you-go preparation—it's impossible to mess it up. Add as much or as little salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil as you want. It should be tangy and light, and of a thin, pourable consistency.  This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge. Just pull it out about an hour before serving so that it can come to room temperature. If it needs to be thinned out after refrigerating, simply add a touch more olive oil and stir. You could also microwave it for just a few seconds and stir it to bring it back to the right consistency.


Mostly unchanged from Ina Garten
Yields about 2½ cups
4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
⅓ cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (usually 2 lemons)
2 T liquid from the chickpeas
1 T olive oil
8 dashes hot sauce
1½ tsp salt
Green onion, extra olive oil, and freshly cracked black pepper for serving
Grilled pita bread for dipping

Using a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process garlic until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is pureed and smooth. Taste for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature with a sprinkling of chopped green onions, an extra drizzle of olive oil, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with grilled pita bread for dipping.