Happy Thursday everyone! Thursday is one step closer to Friday and I KNOW we are all excited about that. Today I want to share with you my recipe for braised lamb shoulder chops!
I know that braising is usually a technique most seen during the winter due to its heavy, homey feel, but the lamb was on sale and I had to buy it! Lamb shoulder blade chops are a very flavorful yet tough piece of meat that is easy on the wallet. It is best to braise this cut it help break down the muscle fibers to produce flavorful and tender meat.
You know how I like to Indianify things, so naturally I decided to make Indian spiced, braised lamb shoulder chops. They took about an hour and a half to cook and believe it or not, SO EASY.
I started by letting the meat rest and come to room temperature. While the meat was resting I cut up some beautiful yellow cauliflower. The cauliflower is very pretty. The pop of yellow gives the whole dish stunning color. I dusted the cauliflower in some cumin and garam masālā set aside until I was ready to roast it in the oven. I then grabbed some pearled couscous, gave it a quick rinse and set it aside.
Back to the lamb shoulder chops! Like I said earlier, the blade chops were on sale, costing me $3 for a pound. The chops were a little over an inch think. After they were rested I did a few grinds of salt and pepper, some cumin powder and seared them, 4 minutes per side, in my super-duper hot, cast-iron pan.
I LOVE MY CAST IRON. It is great for searing meat! The best part is, every time I use it, the pan seasons even more! Pretty cool if I do say so myself.
Anywhoooo. When the lamb shoulder meat was seared I removed the chops from the pan and set them aside. While the pan was still hot I added fennel seeds and shallots. Although shallots are not a typical Indian ingredient, I wanted to use a different type of “onion,” to elevate the dish. Once the shallots began to caramelize, I added whole chunks of garlic, ginger, tomatoes and jalapeños to extract a lot of flavor. I dumped some wine in to deglaze the pan, and then added a shit ton of cumin, coriander and a little garam masālā powder to the mixture. Once the wine reduced I added some chicken stock, cut corn ears and brought it back to a boil, covered, then simmered for the next hour or so.
When the meat was cooked about half-way, I placed the cauliflower onto a roasting pan and popped it into the oven for about 30 minutes. I like my veggie pretty crispy with a nice golden brown color. How long you put it in there for, and the temperature, will determine if the cauliflower will come out soft or not.
The pearled couscous was extremely quick to cook. I added some stock to a pan, brought it to a boil, added the couscous, simmered uncovered for about 8 minutes. BOOM. Couscous done.
So, as a side note, mint goes well with lamb. I would go as far to say that mint is one of the HOLY GRAIL ingredients that pairs perfectly with this slightly gamey meat. That being said….I totally spaced on the mint! I bought it (thanks Vons!), chopped it up and had every intention of garnishing the dish with it but had a brain fart and forgot. MERP.
Because I forgot the mint it got me thinking after the fact. Instead of adding the mint as a garnish on top of the lamb, why not add the chopped mint to the couscous! It would give it more depth and texture. PLUS this is a way to ensure every perfect bite of lamb, couscous and cauliflower would have that bright punch of mint! Woo! If you try it you must let me know how it turns out in the couscous.
I think I have talked (wrote?) your ears off already, so without further delay, here is my Indian Spice Braised Lamb.
- 2 bone in lamb shoulder blade chops
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 5 pieces of garlic, smashed
- ¼ piece of ginger, sliced
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- ½ cup of red wine
- ½ cup of stock
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ¼ cup of mint chopped
- 1 ear of corn, chopped into 4 pieces
- ½ cup whole canned tomatoes in juice
- ½ head of yellow cauliflower, chopped
- 1 cup pearled couscous
- 5 tsp of cumin powder
- 4 tsp coriander powder
- 2tsp garam masālā
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Season lamb with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of cumin powder per chop. Sear on high heat for 3-4 minutes per side until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat in pan to medium and add fennel seeds. Let cook for about 20 seconds. Add shallots and let cook down for 2-4 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add whole pieces of garlic, ginger and jalapeños. Let cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Deglaze pan with red wine. Let reduce by half, scraping all the goodies at the bottom of the pan.
- Add tomatoes with juice. Break down tomatoes with back of spoon. Add salt, 2 tsp of cumin powder, coriander powder and 1tsp of garam masala. Let continue to cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- Add stock, bring to a boil, add corn ears, and return lamb back to pan. Cover and simmer for an hour, or until lamb is tender and falling off the bone.
- While lamb is cooking, add 1tsp of cumin powder and garam masala to chopped cauliflower. Roast in oven on 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until desired texture.
- When the lamb has 10-15 minutes left, bring a to boil a pan of stock or water. Add pearled couscous, simmer and cook until water is evaporated and couscous is firm. Add chopped mint and stir.
- Check on lamb. If at desired tenderness remove chops from pan.
- In a small bowl add cornstarch with equal parts water and mix into a paste. Add to pan and stir into a thick sauce.
- Serve lamb over couscous with a side of the cauliflower and drizzle sauce on top.
- Try using a leg of lamb instead of shoulder.
- Mince the pieces of ginger and garlic to enjoy smaller chunks in the sauce.