Lamb Chops with Charred Chilli Sauce

Here’s a recipe kindly provided by Helen Graves from her book
LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New

We eat a lot of lamb chops in this house; in fact, they’re
probably our number-one speedy dinner option, with a big salad
on the side. If there’s no time to marinate them, then we rub
them with loads of big flavours – crackling spices and lip-jolting
acidity – then cook them hot and fast until their fat drips and
frizzles. There’s a lot of fun to be had in nibbling around the
bones. I love the drama of taking a big plate of chops and a stack
of napkins to the table and watching the carnage unfold.

Serves: 2 as a main dish,
4 with other dishes

Lamb Chops with Charred Chilli Sauce

  • Prep Time1 hr 10 min
  • Cook Time10 min
  • Total Time1 hr 20 min
  • Yield2 Servings


  • 8 lamb chops

Charred Chilli Sauce

  • 5 red chillies
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine
  • vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • large handful of coriander
  • (cilantro) stalks and leaves
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • sea salt



I like to use half of this sauce to marinate the lamb chops,
so tend to char the chillies indoors (as I’m probably not going to
light the barbecue just to char some chillies). There are several
ways to do this – either in a dry pan over a high heat, under a hot
grill or directly over a gas flame. Char them until blackened,
then put into a bowl and cover for a minute. Remove and slip
off the skins (it’s up to you whether or not you keep the seeds).


Lightly toast the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds in a dry
pan over medium-low heat until fragrant, giving the pan a shake
every now and then to ensure they don’t burn.


Place the charred chillies in a blender with the toasted
spices and all the other ingredients except the lamb chops,
plus a generous pinch of salt, and blend until you have
a smooth-ish sauce.


Use half the sauce to marinate the lamb chops for at least
1 hour (leave them for a few hours in the fridge, covered,
if you can).


When you’re ready to eat, prepare a barbecue for indirect
cooking over medium heat.


Grill the lamb chops over direct heat, moving them a little
offset to cook if they start to burn. The cooking time will depend
on the thickness of the chops, but a few minutes on each side for
small chops should do it.


Serve with the remaining sauce.


To Cook Indoors: Cook the marinated chops under a hot grill
for about 5 minutes on each side.

LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography: Rob Billington
Helen’s book can be bought through any reputable bookstore including –