Peveragno Lamb Chops

A tasty, colourful family meal, Peveragno (pehr-ver-agnoh) Lamb Chops may be served with jacket potatoes. The vegetables and fruit used grow abundantly in northwestern Italy, where this recipe originated.

3 lb. best end of lamb, chined

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 fl. oz. vegetable oil

1 aubergine , sliced and degorged

1 tablespoon butter

1 garlic clove, crushed

4 small courgettes , trimmed and sliced

1 green pepper, white pith removed, seeded and cut into strips 3 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 large orange, peeled, white pith removed and segmented 1 lemon, peeled, white pith removed and segmented

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or

½ teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoons tomato puree

Remove and discard the chined bones. Using a small sharp knife, cut the meat between the bones into chops.

Rub half of the salt and half of the pepper all over the lamb chops and set aside.

In a large frying-pan, heat 2 fluid ounces of the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the aubergine slices and cook them for 3 minutes on each side or until they are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, remove the aubergine slices from the pan. Place them on kitchen paper towels to drain.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the courgettes to the pan and, stirring frequently, cook them for 2 minutes. Add the aubergine slices, green pepper, tomatoes and the remaining salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low and cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the courgette slices are just tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you cook the chops.

Add the remaining oil to the frying-pan and place it over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add half of the lamb chops and cook them for 6 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chops from the pan and drain them on kitchen paper towels. Keep warm while you cook the remaining chops in the same way.

Meanwhile, return the vegetables to low heat, stir in the orange and lemon segments, the lemon rind, basil and tomato puree.

Increase the heat to moderately high and bring the vegetable liquid to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the vegetable mixture into a large, deep, warmed serving dish. Arrange the chops on top and serve immediately.

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