Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes

Monday 2 August 2021

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes  

I learned to love two things over the 20 + years that I spent in the UK.  One of them was lamb, and the other was the cooking of Nigel Slater. 

Lamb was not something I had ever really had when I was growing up. My mother did buy lamb chops once, but they smelled like burning mittens when she was cooking them so nobody would eat them. 

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
It was probably not good lamb.  I only came to love and appreciate lamb after moving over to the UK. Our wedding supper was held at a restaurant and we were allowed to pick whatever we wanted from the menu.

I decided to be brave and picked Saddle of Lamb. It was delicious.  I fell in love at first bite and have been cooking lamb ever since.  They had beautiful lamb in the UK.

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
I know you are all familiar with what lamb is, but you may not be so familiar with who Nigel Slater is.   Nigel Slater is a cook who writes.   He is not a classically trained Chef, but he is every bit as popular as any celebrity chef.

He's been writing a food column for the Observer every weekend for 27 years, and is the author of multiple cookbooks. He has also had several very popular series on the television, and a movie made about him called simply "Toast."

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
He is a man who loves to cook and who loves to eat and who loves to write about it.  He cooks the way I love to cook and to eat. Its that simple. 

I have a few of his cookery books. Not as many as I used to have because I am having to replace the ones I left behind, but I am starting off with his best (in my honest opinion), The Kitchen Diaries.  There are three volumes and they are exactly what the title says.  Kitchen Diaries. 

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes
Taken from Diaries he kept throughout the year of his adventures in the garden, kitchen, etc.  Recipe journal, kitchen chronical. I find them fascinating and filled with loads of inspiration and great recipes.

What I love most about his recipes is that they are great jumping off points for doing my own thing.  I have replaced all three of the kitchen diaries (one at a time) and have just gifted myself with the two Volumes of Tender (again one at a time.)

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
The recipe which inspired what I am sharing with you today comes from the first volume of The Kitchen Diaries, which is something which he cooked on the 7th of May.  I am cooking it a tiny bit later in the year.

When my sister and I were at the Super Store the other day I spied some lamb chops.  I have not had lamb since I arrived back in Canada last November and I was so tempted by them that I picked up a small package. 

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
They were a bit pricey at over $8 for three chops, but sometimes you just have to fill your yearnings for what you love and enjoy, especially food wise.  I have only me to please now, so why not

They were nice thick chops as well, with abundant tenderloin bits on the sides.  Loin chips are like the T-bones of the lamb kingdom, with a nice little chunk of meat on one side of the T-bone and a little nugget of tender lamb on the other. (No surprise that is my favorite part!)

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 

Of course I wanted to cook them perfectly.  I didn't want to be wasting these prime cuts of meat.  I looked to Nigel for inspiration and found this recipe, amongst a few others.

This felt and read like what I wanted to cook today and I happened to have some new potatoes in my cupboard.  I did improvise on the recipe quite a bit, but most good cooks do.

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
He starts off by boiling some new potatoes in a pan of lightly salted water. I did that as well.  His chops were simply seasoned with salt and black pepper.

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to be exact. 

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 

He heated some olive oil in a heavy based skillet along with the finely grated zest of one fresh lemon and some fresh mint. I did not have fresh mint, so used dried and it worked fine.

I took the liberty of adding two fat cloves of garlic that I peeled, bashed and split open. These helped to flavor the oil that the chops were going to be fried in. 

Simply fried, just until golden brown, seared really so that the lamb inside stays nice and pink and tender.  But the juices of the lamb mingle with the olive oil, mint, lemon and garlic to make a lush pan juice.

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 

He had merely crushed the potatoes into the pan juices at the end. I decided that I would fry them in the pan juices and brown them off a bit, before adding the lemon juice at the end.  

The potatoes are boiled until tender. I lightly crushed them before adding them to the pan.  Cracked them more or less, that way there were lots of craggy bits to brown and get a bit crisp. (I removed the lamb to a plate, keeping it warm and tented.)

That afforded me the time to really get the potatoes a bit crispy.  And then I added the lamb back to the pan and squeezed over the lemon juice.

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
Leaving the skin on the potatoes and cracking them open rather than slicing or mashing them, gave them added interest I thought.

Well, the picture speaks for itself.  Nothing there but the pan juices and golden crispy edged potatoes, lightly flavored with the lemon at the end.

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 

While they were gilding, I cooked some fresh yellow and green beans I had gotten at the farm market.  Just steamed them lightly until they were crispy tender.

And then I threw them into the pan with the potatoes and the lamb, coating them with some of those lush pan juices as well.  

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes 
This was a beautiful combination.  Tender moist pieces of lamb . . .  crispy tender potatoes . . .  lemon, mint and garlic pan juices. 

Crispy tender beans . . . 

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes

You can see how perfectly cooked the lamb was. Just pink. Succulent.  Delicious.

This combination made for a really wonderful dinner for myself.  Cooking for one or two doesn't have to be boring. In fact if it is, then you're doing something wrong! (Now you know why I look the way I do.)

Many thanks to Nigel for the delicious inspiration!!

 Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes

Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes

Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min
I wanted to take advantage of the flavors of the new potatoes that are showing up in the shops and paired them with some tender lamb chops. Inspired by Nigel Slater.


  • 1/2 pound smallish new potatoes
  • 4 lamb loin chops
  • one medium fresh lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • two fat cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • light olive oil


  1. Bring a pot of  salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and bring back to the boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until they test tender when prodded with the sharp end of a knife.
  2. While they are cooking, heat the olive oil, mint, mashed garlic cloves and lemon zest in a large heavy bottomed skillet. Add some seasoning.
  3. Season the lamb chops all over with some salt and pepper.
  4. Once the oil begins to sizzle, add the lamb chops.  Cook for two minutes on one side until it begins to color, then flip over and cook the other side, again until brown. Remove from the heat and tent with some foil.
  5. Scoop out your cooked potatoes into the pan with the oil, mint, garlic, etc.  Mash lightly with a fork.  Allow them to brown before flipping them over to brown lightly on the underside.  Add the chops back to the pan.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon over top and heat everything through.
  6. Serve two chops each, along with some of the browned potatoes and pan juices.
  7. I like to eat mine with some mint sauce or jelly.
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Lamb with Lemon, Mint & Potatoes
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1 comment

  1. I love lamb and often cook lamb chops with a multitude of veggies in foil packets in the oven. So easy and very little clean up. We have mint growing in the garden. I love Nigel Slater's books, too. Never thought to use lemon so will try this recipe next time lamb chops are on the menu. Your green and yellow beans look delicious, so fresh. It's a bountiful time of year.
    Love and hugs, Elaine


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