I bought 4 fabulous chops from Parsonage Farm recently – and they were awesome. They go under any of the above names – I always call them Barnsley Chops. Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire and the name seems to have come fro there in the mid 1930s – there are several versions of the story. Not especially exciting enough to recount here though! In the butchery trade, Barnsley chop has come to mean a chop around 2cm or one bone thick, cut across the whole loin in a butterfly shape. They are a serious piece of meat – and the art is not to overcook them. I grilled them on a high heat for about three minutes a side – leaving them nicely crispy on the outside but juicy and a little pink inside. They need little adornment. I pan fried long strips of yellow and red peppers, a finely sliced red chilli and a finely chopped clove of garlic in olive oil with a little black pepper and salt. Then I tossed in for the last three minutes or so some steamed asparagus cut into three inch strips.
Chops are the ultimate fast food. Indeed they emerged in the 17th century in London, served up to busy city dwellers, as a sort of forerunner of the hamburger, in places known as chophouses from the late 1690s on. Any meat containing a bone and ‘chopped’ from the loin, shoulder or the ribs was a referred to as a ‘chop’. And it was either mutton or lamb – bits of beef being too big to walk round with I guess! Though Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1663 refers to him having ‘had a chop of veal’ one lunchtime.
There are some horribly mangled looking things masquerading as lamb chops in supermarkets – but go to a good butcher or a farm shop- and experience the real thing – and try one of these saddle chops – or whatever you want to call them! They are lusciously, mouth-wateringly, filling.