My mother usually made lamb chops for Easter. It seemed appropriate, with its relation to Passover and everything. So after she was gone I knew I had to continue, but how?
In my mind, there was always a mystique about the way she cooked them. Sometimes they were thick chops; other times they were thinner. Always delicious. She had such a devil-may-care attitude about them. "Oh, just sprinkle them with lots of garlic powder - they have plenty of flavor." She would put them in a low-sided pan in the oven and casually leave them there till she was ready to take them out. As she got older, she'd use the stovetop instead. I remember once that she put one in a skillet on low, and took a leisurely nap! When she awoke and checked on it, it was just right. Of course.
You can imagine my case of the nerves when I knew my time had come. Turning to Julia's The Way to Cook, I learned the differences between loin chops and shoulder chops. She said the shoulder chops were much cheaper and quite delicious enough. OK! Armed with that information I looked at them next time I was at the market. The loin chops were the thick ones, the shoulder chops thinner - all right! Now I was beginning to learn something.
But, how to cook them? I was not looking for a recipe, so much as how to cook them - not the same thing. Poking around in the cookbook section next time I was at work, I found what I was looking for in The Joy of Cooking. And this is what I do:
adapted from the Joy of Cooking
Salt and pepper your shoulder chops and brown them for two minutes on each side in a T. butter and a T. olive oil. Remove them from the pan and pour out most of the fat. Mince three garlic cloves and cook them in there till soft-ish, then add a half cup of white wine and half cup water. Reduce the liquid by half, then add tomato sauce of some kind (I actually used leftover Progresso Hearty Tomato soup!) - maybe a quarter cup, or just slosh some in the skillet. Put in two cups of chicken stock and some herbes de Provence or rosemary or whatever you want. Put your chops back in and simmer (braise) them about forty minutes or so.