Braised Lamb Neck
lamb neck (4-6 slices)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
carrot, medium dice
celery, medium dice
white onion, medium dice
cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
red wine vinegar
canned chopped tomatoes
sprigs fresh thyme
sprigs fresh rosemary
cooked Israeli couscous or fregola sarda
Preserved lemon peel, thinly sliced, for garnish
chopped green olives
chopped mint or parsley for garnish
Inexpensive cuts of meat, like lamb’s neck, are best when braised low and slow. With a little love and coaxing, you can transform it into the most flavorful, buttery, and fork-tender piece of meat.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep, heavy-based Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb neck in a single layer and sear on both sides until well browned.
- Remove the lamb neck, wipe the pan, and add more oil to coat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the red wine and vinegar and cook, stirring and scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, thyme, and rosemary. Return the lamb neck to the pot, bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning the lamb once, until fall-off-the-bone fork-tender, about 2 hours.
- Serve over Israeli couscous or fregola sarda. Garnish with preserved lemon and fresh parsley.
- Remove the lamb from the cooking liquid. Strain the liquid and add to a pot. Skim off any fat (my lamb neck had very little fat). Cook over medium-high heat until somewhat reduced and becoming thicker and more flavorful.
- Serve the lamb (2 slices per plate) over fregola sarda. Drizzle with the reduced sauce. Garnish with preserved lemon and olives. Sprinkle with fresh mint or parsley.