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Advent Recipe Day Nineteen: Zaatar Lamb Chops with Freekeh, Dried Fruits and Nuts

Zaatar Lamb Chops with Freekeh, Dried Fruits and Nuts

The word Zaatar, also spelled Zatar or Za’tar, refers to wild thyme herbs that grow in Lebanese and Middle Eastern wilderness. It is also used to refer to the herbal mix that will be featured in the Zaatar Mix recipe and which is found in every Lebanese kitchen.

This recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Lebanon combines Zaatar with tender lamb chops and a sweet and savoury freekeh with dried fruits and nuts.

Serves 4
Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Total time:


Freekeh, dried fruits and nuts
  • 300 g freekeh
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 litre lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • 2 g seven or five spice
  • 2 g sweet smoked paprika
  • 40 g dried redcurrants
  • 60 g dried prunes
  • 80 g dried apricots
  • 10 ml corn oil
  • 40 g pistachios
  • 40 g walnuts
  • 40 g pecans
Zaatar lamb chops
  • 20 ml corn oil
  • 2 large lamb loins, deboned
  • zaatar mix
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh coriander, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 170˚C

Freekeh, dried fruits and nuts

In a pan, sweat the freekeh in the butter. Add the lamb or chicken stock and spices and cook for 30 minutes over a medium heat. Add the dried fruit (reserve a few pieces for the garnish if desired) and season. Keep the freekeh moist and cover with a lid. Set aside.

Heat the corn oil in a frying pan, add the nuts and fry until golden brown. Set aside.

Zaatar lamb chops

Season the lamb loins with salt and pepper. Heat the corn oil in a frying pan, add the lamb and sear on all sides.

Mix the zaatar mix with the olive oil, then slice each loin into 6 medallions. For an alternative presentation, slice each loin into 2 pieces. Cover each medallion with the zaatar mix and finish cooking in the oven for 4 - 5 minutes. Let rest on a rack for 2 minutes.

To serve

With a ring or cutter, arrange the freekeh on the plates. Add 3 medallions in the centre of each plate, then garnish with the pan-fried nuts, reserved dried fruits and fresh coriander.

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