A bourbon-glazed lamb chops recipe that’s rich and celebratory

Bourbon-Glazed Lamb Chops With Marinated Beans

Total time:35 mins

Servings:4 to 6

Total time:35 mins

Servings:4 to 6


Chef Toya Boudy’s new cookbook, “Cooking for the Culture,” is as much about the ingredients and process of making a satisfying life as it is about the ingredients and process of making a delicious dish.

For the book’s cover, Boudy could have chosen a photo of tempting barbecue shrimp, an abundant ladle of seafood gumbo or the rich, bourbon-glazed lamb chops in the recipe featured below. Instead, she featured her tattooed, flexed biceps and her artfully styled fingernails gripping a slice of watermelon.

Why? “I’m taking everything back,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in New Orleans. The image is a statement about the racism that tried to turn watermelon and other foods associated with Black culture into stereotypes.

“Watermelon nourished and hydrated us while we were working. I gripped that watermelon for all Black and Brown culture.

“I want everyone to take the narrative and switch it,” she said. “It’s what we do … . We’ve flipped so many negative things and made it positive … . Everything that makes people feel uncomfortable. I want to say: Relax your shoulders and rest your mouth. Just let us be.”

Boudy’s life is an example of flipping the script, so along with recipes for buttermilk turkey wings, fried catfish and white chocolate bread pudding, each chapter contains forthright essays about her rebelliousness, poor grades and teen pregnancy. She also writes about the path she is now on with her husband of 10 years, Christopher Boudy Sr., and her four children, including her eldest daughter who is now in graduate school.

“I hope by the end of this book, you are sparked to spread your wings, find your ‘why,’ heal and feed people along the way,” she writes.

“I feel like I make good decisions,” she said of her life today, noting that her younger self “grieves” for the missteps she took — ones that pained her parents, Emily and Ernest Thomas, both great cooks. They set a firm, but loving example and remained steadfast as she found her footing. And she knows her husband and good friends have lifted her up as she worked to move from steppingstone to steppingstone.

She wants to do the same for others.

“Somebody opened a door for you, so that means you have to wedge that door a little more open for someone coming up behind you,” she said, explaining why she shares intimate details of life in her work as a writer, public speaker and even at food demonstrations. As she noted in one of her podcasts: “If you’re at a place where you don’t want to be, it took work to get there.”

It takes work to change your destiny, too.

At 15, Boudy started cooking professionally by making food in a corner store. She attended cooking school on and off for more than a dozen years, as she went about bringing her vision into focus. In time, she met her husband, who filmed her first YouTube videos. She self-published a cookbook and landed spots on cooking shows on TLC, the Food Network and Hallmark’s Home & Family.

Encouraged by friends to share her life-affirming perspective in a podcast, she recorded 33 episodes in 17 days — in her house, in the school carpool line or wherever it made sense. Each project and effort led to the next move forward. When Countryman Press approached Boudy about “Cooking for the Culture,” the podcast gave her an edge with the publisher, she said. Once the contract was penned, she and photographer Sam Hanna photographed nearly 80 dishes — including baked mac and cheese, fried fish and cornbread — in 10 days in her home.

“I used to call it ‘my crazy,’ but I realized it’s my genius,” she said of her drive. The cookbook was published in February — just in time for Mardi Gras — and she was invited to make gumbo on the “Today” show and CBS Saturday morning’s “The Dish.”

The exposure has brought the New Orleans native a far-flung audience: “I didn’t think about my book being sold outside of Uptown [New Orleans] and you’re telling me about Australia?”

Boudy remembers feeling insignificant as a teen, feeling like she was on the outside looking in. Now she feels like she’s in the door, “but [is] not yet at the place where I can sit back. You know how you sit on the couch, but you don’t sit back until you’re really comfortable? I’m still sitting up straight.”

The final photo at the back of the book shows her hand grasping a turkey wing, bright jade nails against the golden, brown poultry. Jade brings good fortune, she said of her nail color choice.

She loves that photo because she sees it as an example of how she won’t be nudged to be less of who she really is: “Can you flatten your hair? Can you only wear muted colors? You don’t want me to draw too much attention? I’m done with that.”

Bourbon-glazed Lamb Chops With Marinated White Beans

“There’s nothing that I do that doesn’t have meaning,” Boudy said of the recipes in her cookbook. This lamb dish is no exception: “This is personal: Even the way I plate it has meaning,” she wrote citing the triune (beginning, middle and the end) and noting that the red paprika, the lamb and the beans combine to symbolize the “cycle of life: giving, sacrifice and resurrection.”

A luscious bourbon glaze makes this lamb chop dish special enough for a holiday feast, but it comes together quickly for a weeknight supper. The beans could be served as a side with lots of dishes. We liked the sauce so much we made it again to eat with pan-sauteed chicken breasts. Now, we want to try it with pork chops, too.

Storage: Refrigerate the beans and chops separately for up to 4 days.

NOTES: Herbes de Provence is a blend of herbs, typically savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano. If you don’t have the blend, you can create a mixture from dried herbs you like.

If using homemade beans, measure out 3 cups with a few tablespoons of their cooking liquid.

You can make this dish with either loin or rib chops. Both are tender, but some loin chops are sold without the bone. For this dish, it’s best not to use shoulder chops, which are tougher and require a longer cooking time

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  • Twelve (3-ounce) 3/4- to 1-inch-thick lamb rib chops (see NOTES)
  • Flaky sea salt or truffle salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • Two (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, undrained (see NOTES)
  • 1 teaspoon prosecco wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (see NOTES)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons minced or finely grated garlic

Season the lamb: Remove the chops from the refrigerator, pat them dry, lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and allow them to sit at room temperature while you start the beans.

Make the beans: In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the beans with their liquid, vinegar, herbes de Provence, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed, until the beans are shiny and coated and the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes. Taste, and season with additional salt and/or pepper, as needed. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Cook the lamb: While the beans are simmering, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 teaspoons of the butter. Working in batches, sear the chops for 3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. (If your chops are thinner than 3/4 to 1 inch, you’ll want to sear them for just 1 minute or so per side. Do not cook longer because you will return the chops to the hot pan.) Transfer the chops to a platter and loosely cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining chops, adding more butter if the pan seems too dry.

Make the glaze: With the skillet still over medium-high heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter, the brown sugar, bourbon and garlic, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined, about 2 minutes.

Return the chops to the skillet and turn a few times to make sure all the sides are evenly coated with the glaze, cooking them 1 to 2 minutes more. (For medium-rare, an instant-read thermometer should read 130 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the chop away from the bone.)

Add a scoop of beans to a warm plate and arrange 2 to 3 chops on top. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, if desired, and serve right away.

Per serving (2 chops and 1/2 cup of beans) based on 6

Calories: 549; Total Fat: 29 g; Saturated Fat: 12 g; Cholesterol: 136 mg; Sodium: 613 mg; Carbohydrates: 26 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 9 g; Protein: 41 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Adapted from “Cooking for the Culture” by Toya Boudy (Countryman Press, 2023).

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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