Monday, October 26, 2009

Braised Lamb Neck with Vegetables

Anybody who's been coming here for any length of time probably knows that I love long, slow, braised, stewy dishes. There's oxtails, lamb rogan josh, beef shanks, lamb shanks, and Yucatan pork stew, to name a few.

These dishes should be "one pot", but typically end up using many more than one in my kitchen, because I'm fiddly. I like to separate the veggies from the meat from the broth, refrigerate separately, remove the fat, squish the veggies into the broth through a strainer, etc.

And if I had my way, most of these dishes would be served over buttered noodles or some kind of potato, but given who I live with, it's usually over rice. I'm not complaining, just stating the facts.

Anyhow, today I made what was probably my first original braised lamb dish. I based it on a lot of past recipes, and others that I've seen online and in print, and was extremely happy with the results.

Unfortunately, as with most of my dishes like these, I couldn't get an appetizing-looking picture to save my life. So here's a picture of Little Dog after she had a bite of lamb.

It all started with lamb neck bones that I found at the local market. They reminded me of oxtails in regards to the meat:bone:other ratio, and they were cheap, so I had to buy them. So without further adieu, here's what I did:

Braised Lamb Neck with Vegetables

2 lbs lamb neck bones
vegetable/canola oil
2 carrots, cut in 2" lengths, thicker pieces cut in half lengthwise
3 ribs celery, cut like the carrots
2 parsnips, cut like the carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2-1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1.5-2 cups chicken stock
1-2 T tomato paste
small handful of dried mushrooms
bay leaves
black pepper
smoked paprika
1-2 anchovies in oil

Pat the lamb dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Brown over high heat in the oil on all sides in a large Dutch oven. Remove to a plate. Do in batches if necessary.

Remove most of the oil from the Dutch oven, and saute the onion and garlic briefly. Add the wine to deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and let the alcohol burn off. Add the tomato paste, dried mushrooms, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, black pepper, anchovies, and stocks. Return the lamb to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook, covered, for about 2 hours. Add the vegetables to the pot, return to a simmer, and continue cooking until the vegetables are done and the lamb is falling off the bones.

Here's where I had a bit of a hiccup. The veggies were done, but the lamb wasn't. So I removed the veggies from the pot with a slotted spoon, and continued cooking the lamb for another hour or so.

When everything's done, and I hope you should be so lucky that the veggies and lamb are done at the same time, remove all the veggies and lamb from the braising liquid, and refrigerate separately. The next day, remove the fat from the top of the liquid, plunk everything back into your Dutch oven, and reheat gently. Salt to taste, although I didn't need any extra , given the initial salting of the lamb, the the salt in the beef stock.

Serve over buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, or, if your family insists, rice. (I made some barley to go with it, cooked in chicken broth & lamb braising liquid, and it was delicious.)


Bob said...

Sounds awesome. The little dog seemed to enjoy it. Heh.

It's funny, I saw a cooking show where they used lamb necks recently, I had never even heard of them before. Well, as a cut of meat, I knew lambs had necks...

Vicki said...

Hey Bob - I had never thought of lamb necks either, but I saw a recipe online that used them, then saw them in the market, so had to buy them.

Wouldn't a neckless lamb be funny?

Ben said...

Oh my god, that sounds so good. I also love stews, especially the ones that are marinated for a day first and then cooked for hours. hmmmm so good for fall.

Vicki said...

Hey Ben! Agreed, and what I especially love is that stews like this get better the 2nd and 3rd days.

Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow) said...

Sounds delicious! I've got lamb in my fridge for tomorrow! Never used lamb neck but we always eat the turkey neck during thanksgiving and I have a feeling Lamb neck has more meat:)

Vicki said...

Hi Ann - Yes, lamb neck definitely has more meat. If you're really lucky, sometimes you can find it sliced like beef shanks, and can braise the large pieces, instead of the bits that I had.