Loin of Lamb in a Pan Sauce with Wilted Watercress

May/June 1995

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A balsamic-vinegar-spiked pan sauce is the perfect foil for rich lamb loin. Make it a meal: Serve with oven-roasted potatoes.

Loin of Lamb in a Pan Sauce with Wilted Watercress

Makes: 6 servings

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  • 2 12-ounce boneless lamb loins, trimmed
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt & coarsely ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup lamb stock (see Note), or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed, washed and dried (4 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat a heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat. Brush the lamb loins with 1 teaspoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear the lamb on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the lamb is medium-rare (120 to 130°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 8 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set it aside on a carving board tented with foil to keep warm.
  2. Without washing the pan, place it over medium heat. Add shallots and the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Cook the shallots, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add stock or broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce; stir, scraping up any browned bits. Increase the heat to high and boil the sauce until it has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Thinly slice the lamb. Toss watercress in 2 tablespoons of the warm sauce until slightly wilted and arrange on 6 warmed dinner plates. Fan the lamb slices alongside. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the lamb and serve.

Tips & Notes

  • Note: For this recipe, order a saddle of lamb and ask the butcher to bone it, saving the bones for stock. To make lamb stock, brown the bones and some chopped onions, carrots and celery in a hot oven. Transfer the roasted bones and vegetables to a stock pot, add a bouquet garni (sprigs of parsley and thyme tied together with string), peppercorns and water to cover. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours, strain and refrigerate.


Per serving: 184 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 5 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 22 g protein; 0 g fiber; 188 mg sodium; 372 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (32% daily value), Vitamin A (23% dv), Zinc (19% dv), Vitamin C (18% dv).

Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 vegetable

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Recipe Categories


Ease of Preparation
Type of Dish
Main dish, meat
Total Time
45 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique
May/June 1995
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