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Nik Sharma's Season

Ground Lamb and Potato “Chops”

Ground Lamb and Potato “Chops”

In the introduction to Season, Nik Sharma writes, “I am an immigrant and I tell my story through food.” And what a story he tells! Sharma, the author and photographer behind the acclaimed blog A Brown Table, transports you to Bombay, Oakland, Cincinnati, and so many places in between. We love this anytime recipe (great for breakfast, dinner, or Breakfast for Dinner), which Sharma demoed for us at a recent Great Jones event. He had everyone licking their lips.

Cookware used in this recipe

I think of potato chops as little parcels of joy. There is no better way to combine meat and potatoes than this Goan specialty. Imagine your fork piercing a pan-fried coating of crisp bread crumbs and sinking into a layer of smooth mashed potatoes and then juicy, spiced ground meat. If you have any left over, enjoy them for breakfast. Top each one with a fried egg and a big spoonful of Hot Green Chutney. You can find sambal oelek, a chile-based Indonesian condiment, in many grocery stores and most Asian markets.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Photo by Noah Fecks

Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds.

Break up the ground lamb into small chunks and add it to the skillet. Brown the meat for 5 to 6 minutes. Add ½ tsp of the salt, the vinegar, and the sambal oelek and stir gently to combine.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes, Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in the cilantro and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

(The lamb filling may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

While the lamb is cooking, scrub the potatoes and put them in a large stockpot. Add enough cool water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 centimeters). Bring to a rolling boil, turn the heat to medium low, and cover. Simmer the potatoes until completely tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully drain off the water and allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature. (The potatoes may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Peel the potatoes and, with a masher or fork (or a ricer if you prefer a smoother texture), mash until there are no visible chunks left behind.

Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

To assemble the chops, take 3 or 4 tablespoons of the mashed potatoes in the palms of your hands and flatten into a disk. Put 1½ to 2 tablespoons of the lamb filling in the center, and fold the edges of the potato around it to form a patty 1½ to 2 inches (4 to 5 centimeters) in diameter. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and repeat with the remaining meat and potatoes.

Photo by Noah Fecks

Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Spread out the bread crumbs on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush a patty with the egg and coat evenly with the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess. Repeat with the remaining patties.

Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the patties in batches, adding more oil as needed, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towels. Serve hot or warm.

If you don’t care for lamb, or red meat in general, you can substitute ground chicken or turkey. In the traditional Goan version of this dish, the meat is flavored with a combination of spices and coconut vinegar. I like to include sambal oelek and apple cider vinegar, which makes all the flavors pop.

Photo by Bridget Badore

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