Lamb is a special meat, fragrant and rich. The accompanying ingredient list for the “Lamb Chops and Eggplant with Indian Spices,” from the July 2011 issue of Fine Cooking, convinced me to indulge in a lamb dinner. Eggplants, tomatoes, chickpeas, white wine, olive oil. And the spice warmth of cumin and coriander and paprika and garam masala. Indeed, the recipe requires various steps of stove-top simmering and oven roasting, but of course, it’s all worthwhile. I made my special meal.

My lamb was a pricey indulgence, to be sure. Of course, a quality ingredient is worth its price. I assembled my spice mix, trading smoked paprika for the cayenne pepper, and gladly sprinkled it on my chops. I seared the chops in my cast-iron skillet. Once they gave up the skillet, I made my wine reduction in it. The wine was “syrupy” in 6 minutes.

The chunks of eggplant first roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, in another pan, the roasted eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and beans simmer for 15 minutes, until tender. To this mix, I added 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. The kiss of garam masala at the end is significant -- that warm touch of coriander/cumin/cardamom/cloves/black pepper/cinnamon/nutmeg.

Fine Cooking’s “Basmati Rice Pilaf with Pistachios” (December 2007) was definitely a perfect pairing with this lamb dish. I used brown basmati rice, so it needed 45 minutes to cook and more broth/water than was suggested. This was fine. The inclusion of coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf made this a rice dish to enjoy. And pistachios! They’re always fantastic.

PRICES:
French Rack of Lamb (8 chops) = $29.06
Eggplant (1 3/4 lbs.) = $3.15
Red Onion (1) = .89¢
Tomatoes (1 lb.) = $1.02
Canned Chickpeas (15 oz.) = $1.78
Shallots (2) = $1.75

PREP TIMES: dedicate at least 90 minutes to lamb prep and cooking; (brown) rice needs an hour
TASTES:
lamb and vegetables are “warmed” (not harshly “spiced”) by cumin, coriander, paprika, and enriched by a white-wine sauce; cinnamon and pistachios make the rice a celebration

Next time, I will cook the “Cornmeal-Crusted Trout,” from the September 2012 issue of Everyday Food, along with the “Zucchini with Potatoes and Thyme,” from the August 2012 issue of Bön Appetit. See what my diners say about this meal, when you come back to my site soon.