notes from the mexican kitchen

Father’s Day Grilling: Lamb Chops with Salsa Macha

POST_170x177Let’s get this out of the way: We know Father’s Day seems to be filled with endless tropes of dear old dad stationed in front of the grill, pawing at his new set of barbecue tools and swigging a couple of cold beers.

But you know what? There’s a reason the image, at least the grilling part, is baked into our collective conscious.

There’s just something about that primeval desire to cook, to provide, and I think this recipe for grilled lamb chops with salsa macha will prove satisfying, succulent and downright perfect for a Sunday celebration.

We begin by making the versatile salsa macha, a nutty, spicy and rustic salsa consisting  of chopped-up dried red chile, oil, garlic, nuts and seeds. Here, I’ve added a splash of apple cider vinegar and dried herbs to the mix.

Spooned over the grilled chops, it pairs beautifully with the rich fullness of the lamb.

A quick note: As with beef steaks, lamb chops have the best texture and the liveliest flavor, in my opinion, when cooked directly (and briefly) over rather high heat until they’re no more than medium.

Costillas de Borrego con Salsa Macha
From Season 8, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 4with 2 2/3 cups Salsa


  • For The Salsa Macha
  • 2ounces dried chiles (one or more of the following: arbol, chiltepín, pequín, serrano seco, chipotle, morita, puya, guajillo, ancho, mulato, pasilla—depending on the flavors and spiciness you want to go for)
  • 1 1/2ounces (1/3 cup) nuts (one or more of the following: almonds, peanuts, pecan pieces)
  • 1tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2cups olive oil
  • 1tablespoon vinegar (cider vinegar works well here)
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • A generous 1/2teaspoon dried herbs (one or more of the following: Mexican oregano, marjoram, or thyme)
  • 8large (about 1 3/4 pounds total) lamb chops, bones scraped clean


Stem the chiles, then break or cut them open and scrape/brush/let fall out most of the seeds; cut into 1/4-inch pieces - you will have about 1 cup. (Simply use chiltepin or pequin whole.) In a large (4-quart) saucepan, combine the nuts, sesame seeds, garlic and oil over medium-high heat and cook until garlic and sesame seeds are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chiles. Let cool 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar with the salt until dissolved, then add it to the pan along with the herbs. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour it into a blender or food processor and pulse until everything is chopped into small pieces. Run the processor for a few seconds until everything is finely chopped—but not pureed.

Heat a gas grill to medium-high or build a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with grey ash and quite hot. Brush both sides of each lamb chop with a little oil from the salsa macha; sprinkle generously with salt. Grill the lamb chops over the hottest part of the fire until as done as you like, usually about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let them rest on a cool part of the grill for several minutes before serving with the warm salsa macha for each guest to spoon on al gusto.




  1. Your so freaking awesome. Soy de Guadalajara Mexico ye farcina to peograma. Fantastico Rick!!!! Than you
    I always tune in !!!!

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