Lamb Blade Chops with Apricot Halves and Salt Preserved Lemon

This is a simple one-skillet dish disguised as a fancy-pants chef-type meal. The deception works because we’re using slightly more exotic pantry ingredients like salt-preserved lemons and apricot halves in syrup. The salted lemons, apricots and warm spices meld together into a Moroccan-influenced sweet and sour sauce that rocks with the lamb blade chops.

If you don’t have apricots, feel free to experiment using the preserves you have on hand. This same dish could be made with bone-in chicken thighs and home-canned peaches and would be excellent. If you don’t have salt preserved lemons, for goodness sakes go make some right now! They are wonderful!

Lamb Chop with Preserved Lemon and Apricots

Lamb Blade Chops with Spice Rub, Preserved Lemons and Apricots


Spice Rub

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp curry
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ginger

Everything Else

  • 4 lamb shoulder (blade) chops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed for pan
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 salt preserved lemon, rough chopped
  • 1 pint apricot halves in syrup (6-8 apricot halves)
  • ½ to 1 cup water or stock, as needed
  • Sliced almonds and chopped cilantro, for garnish


Combine all the spice ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the shoulder chops with the spice rub.

Warm the oil in a very large cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the lamb shoulder chops and sear on each sides until golden brown. If four chops do not fit without crowding your skillet, sear the chops in batches. Set the chops to the side.

Add additional oil to the pan if necessary and add the sliced onions and garlic. Cook until brown and tender, stirring occasionally, three to five minutes.

Add the seared lamb chops back to the skillet, along with the salt preserved lemon, apricots with their syrup, and enough water or stock to bring liquid about half-way up the lamb chops.

Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer until chops are cooked to desired doneness (I like medium), about 10 minutes.

Serve chops over couscous, piled with sauce and chucks of apricots, preserved lemon and onion. Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced almonds if desired.

Learn All About It!

How to make salt preserved lemons.

How to make apricots in syrup.

This is a Northwest Flower and Garden Show Demo Recipe

This recipe is from the Mealtime Made Easier with Well Planned Preserves  recipe demo and presentation I gave at the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to learn just how fast homemade meals can be when you have the right things in your pantry.

To view all recipes in the NWFGS 2013 series, click here.


  1. queenofstring says

    This is when I get to love having canned and having a pantry. I love to read a recipe and know that we have everything to make it ( except fresh cilantro, but I have frozen and frozen green seeds). Really enjoying your recipes for using these things up!

  2. Deb L says

    This is a timely post – I had a spring-fever impulse purchase of a 40lb box of lemons this past week and have been looking for yummy ways to use them up before they go to waste. :) Definitely going to be making some salt-preserved lemons now! Luckily people in my family enjoy lamb, so later this spring I will have a go at this chops recipe too. yummmm, can’t wait!

  3. Joanna says

    We love lamb, but rarely serve it fora large group. I made this for Passover . I needed to be able to cook the last portion between courses and still serve the lamb med rare. I could not believe how easy and wonderful this recipe was. Everyone raved and I am a very good cook so to get the response I did was terrific. It is a bit different because I did not have preserved lemons. No time to make them and no where to buy them. Thank you for combining some of our favorite ingredients and providing a new dish to add to my holiday meal.

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