Tuscan Lamb With Tomatoes and Polenta

It’s been awhile since I’ve tried a new recipe. Our diet has been pretty simple all summer long, so there wasn’t a need for recipes. We got some lamb at Trader Joe’s and I wanted to find a new recipe for it. I was really searching for a marinade, but when I saw this recipe I had to try it. It sounded delicious! And I needed the protein after biking 24 miles to and from work on Monday.

Don’t let the word “lamb” scare you off. You can easily substitute the lamb for something else.


Tuscan Lamb With Tomatoes and Polenta


From Real Simple

Serves 4   |    Hands-on Time: 15m    |    Total Time: 25m


1 teaspoon olive oil

8 small lamb loin chops (about 3/4 inch thick; 2 pounds total)

kosher salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

3/4 cup instant polenta

1 tablespoon unsalted butter



1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chops with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

2. Cook the chops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.

3. Add the garlic to the drippings and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, wine, rosemary, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Nestle the chops in the tomatoes, transfer the skillet to oven, and cook, 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare.

5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Whisk in the butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the chops and tomato sauce.

Tip: Polenta, coarsely ground cornmeal, is an Italian staple. The instant version cooks in less than 5 minutes, versus 45 minutes for regular polenta. In a pinch, you can substitute finely ground cornmeal, though the texture will be slightly different.

Nutritional Information:  Calories 385; Fat 13g;Protein 32g; Carbohydrate 28g; Sugar 5g; Fiber 3g

I didn’t have some of the ingredients—like the polenta—so I had to run to the store first. I didn’t think using the one can I had of diced tomatoes with jalapenos would go with this recipe…I couldn’t find the “instant polenta” but the package I bought had a microwave option. I was skeptical but it was late in the evening and it was the only option.

I followed the microwave instructions and it turned out great! Perfect consistency and everything. I was happy that it worked.

While Michael was searing the lamb, I made us spinach salads with fresh tomatoes from our garden and a little bit of gorgonzola cheese.

The tomato sauce smelled amazing in the skillet—fresh herbs from the garden, garlic and white wine in a bubbling tomato brew. Mmmm.

Fresh rosemary is probably one of my favorite scents.

Michael put the seared lamb into the tomato mixture and then popped it all into the oven to bake. Having a digital meat thermometer is a must. It makes cooking so much easier.

The polenta was done and it had thickened up nicely.

I mixed in some butter and then served it onto plates where Michael put the lamb and tomato sauce on top. We split the one large lamb chop (or was it lamb steak? Not sure the cut of it).

The dinner was delicious. I would definitely make this recipe again. I think it would go well with regular steak, or maybe even chicken too. Polenta is such a versatile food. If you don’t like polenta, or had the polenta in the microwave been a complete disaster, the backup plan was to use couscous. Or maybe even roasted chickpeas.

If I was going to change this recipe in any way, I’d add more tomatoes to the sauce. A lot of the fluids had baked off and I wished there was more sauce on it. Maybe even adding fresh tomatoes from the garden to the canned diced tomatoes would be a nice addition.

The leftovers were wonderful too. I took some leftover polenta and tomato sauce to work on Tuesday for lunch. I reheated it and had a delicious, easy lunch.

This recipe is a keeper!

QUESTION: What is your favorite polenta recipe?



Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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