Turkish Lamb ChopsThis is a decadent, expensive feast, inspired by tales of Turkish meals.

Melissa Clark’s Dinner, Changing the Game steered me toward spending too much money on bone-in lamb loin chops, for the “Turkish Lamb Chops with Sumac, Tahini, and Dill.” My thick chops relaxed and marinated at room temperature, covered in my toasted spices (which I dutifully crushed in my mortar).

The tahini sauce was a triumph in the food processor -- tart tahini lusciousness. I added 6 Tbsp. of water to make the sauce thin enough to drizzle. I used the juice of a big, fat Meyer lemon (and used its zest in my accompanying recipe below).

I broiled my chops for 14 minutes, turning them once. They were perfect, slightly pink, crusty with the toasted rich spices.

Dill and sumac were welcome flavors, too.

Turkish Bulgur PilafTurning pages to the back of the same cookbook, I found the “Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Yogurt and Pumpkin,” an ideal partner for these lamb chops.

Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Yogurt and Pumpkin
Dinner, Changing the Game, Melissa Clark
Serves 4

1 1/4 lbs. pumpkin or winter squash, seeded and sliced into 1-inch-thick wedges
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 3/4 cups coarse bulgur
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
Finely grated zest of 1 tangerine or 1/2 orange
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground Turkish red pepper, such as Aleppo pepper, to taste, plus more for garnish
Plain, preferably whole-milk yogurt
Toasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas, for garnish
Chopped fresh dill leaves, for garnish
Coarse sea salt, for garnish

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Brush the squash wedges with olive oil and season them with the salt and pepper. Spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, turning them over halfway through, until they are golden brown and tender, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the variety of squash. Watch them carefully.

Meanwhile, heat the 1 Tbsp. olive oil with 1 Tbsp. of the butter in a 3-qt. pot. When the butter has melted, add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the bulgur and allspice, and sauté for 2 minutes.

Stir in the stock and bring it to a vigorous boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook until the bulgur is tender, all liquid has been absorbed, and thee appear to be holes in the surface of the bulgur, about 15 minutes. Remove he pot from the heat, place a clean dish towel between the top of the pot and the lid, and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to steam.

Melt the remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in a small skillet, and cook until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep nut-brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tangerine zest and Turkish red pepper.

To serve, mound the bulgur onto a platter. Arrange the pumpkin on top. Drizzle yogurt and the warm butter mixture over the top. Garnish with the pumpkin seeds, dill, coarse seat salt, and additional Turkish red pepper.

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I roasted slices of squash, with its skin on, for 20 minutes. Remember the big, fat Meyer lemon I mentioned above? It was as big as an orange, so I used its zest in the browned butter, here.

This pilaf is all about its surprising layers of flavors and textures. The onion and bulgur are sweet; the allspice is nutty; the yogurt is tart; the browned butter is silky, rich, and warm; the toasted pepitas are crunchy; the coarse sea salt is necessary. Quite exhausting. Dare yourself to do all of this.

Lamb Rib/Sirloin/Loin Chops (3 lbs.) = $64.26
Acorn Squash (2 lbs.) = $2.32
Onion = .57¢
Meyer Lemon = $1.24

PREP TIMES: lamb chops marinate for 30 minutes and broil for 14 minutes; bulgur simmers and steams while squash roasts for 20 minutes
TASTES: tart tahini embellishes crusty lamb; bulgur and squash are layered with sweet, nutty, tart, silky, crunch

Next time, I’ll take my last stop at Melissa Clark’s Dinner, Changing the Game. I’ll make the “Rustic Shrimp Bisque,” along with the “Rye & Cheddar Biscuits” (recipes below). Come back to my site next week, to witness a final hurrah with lots of butter.

Rustic Shrimp Bisque
Dinner, Changing the Game, Melissa Clark
4 to 6 servings

1 lb. medium or large uncooked shrimp, shelled, shells reserved
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste
2⁄3 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. Pernod or brandy
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped, fronds reserved for garnish
1⁄4 cup long-grain rice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste Pinch cayenne
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste

In a large pot over high heat, cook shrimp shells in 1 Tbsp. butter and 1/4 tsp. salt, stirring frequently, until lightly browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Add wine and brandy and boil until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add 6 cups water, thyme and bay leaf and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Strain shrimp stock into a bowl, pressing on shells before discarding them.

In same pot, melt 2 Tbsp. butter with 1/4 tsp. salt. Add shrimp and sauté until they are pink, 2 to 4 minutes depending on size. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a bowl.

Add remaining 3 Tbsp. butter to pot along with celery, leeks, garlic and fennel and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, tomato paste, cayenne and remaining salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Add shrimp stock and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Set aside 4 to 6 nice-looking shrimp and stir remainder into bisque; let cook for 2 minutes. Working carefully and in batches, pour bisque into a blender and process to a smooth purée or pulse to a chunky mixture, as you like. (You may use an immersion blender to purée soup.) Return bisque to pot. Stir in the lemon juice and additional salt to taste. Reheat if necessary before serving. Garnish each bowl with a shrimp and a piece of fennel frond.

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Rye & Cheddar Biscuits
Dinner, Changing the Game, Melissa Clark
Makes 9 biscuits

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour (or whole-wheat)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup cold sour cream or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. light or dark brown sugar
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In  small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with 1 Tbsp. water and reserve.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, remaining 1 egg, and brown sugar. Cut the butter cubes into the dry ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter, until the mixture consists of chickpea-sized crumbs. Gently stir in the wet mixture. Fold in the cheese.

On a floured work surface, pat the dough into a square that is 1 1/4-inch tall. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut into 9 equal-sized squares and space the biscuits very close together on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and tender, 12 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.