Comfort Food at its Best…Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

Braised Lamb Shoulder 1

Today was my first attempt at making a braised lamb dish.  A sale on grass fed Lamb Shoulder Chops from New Zealand  at $2.99 lb. prompted my internet search for a good recipe.  I found a couple of recipes which looked good but each seemed to lack something, so I took what I liked from each recipe which resulted in a meal that could only be called nothing short of fabulous.  I don’t know why I have never tried braising lamb shoulder chops before, it is so easy.  The ingredients are simple but the flavor from the cooked down ingredients is intense.  The sweetness from the carrots and onions, saltiness from the celery, and subtle hints of rosemary and thyme meld perfectly with the reduced lamb juices and chicken stock  to create a delicious reduction with an intensified rich flavor.   I would imagine this recipe could easily hold its own compared to any restaurant worthy version out there.

Ingredients:

4 bone in lamb shoulder chops approximately 1/2 lb each

1 small or half of  a large sweet or yellow onion sliced to medium thickness and quartered

3-4 whole cloves of  garlic

1 large carrot diced

1 1/2 stalks of celery diced finely

2 tsp sugar

1-2 cups low sodium chicken broth (I used Saffron Road)

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive Oil

Method:

In a Dutch oven or oven safe pot with lid, heat 2 Tbls. of Olive oil.  When the pan is nice and hot enough to hear a sizzle (med-high heat) add the salt and pepper seasoned lamb chops in a single layer.  Brown on each side till you have a nice color, approximately  4-5 minutes per side or until you see a nice brown color.  After you flip the lamb chops on the first side add the three whole garlic cloves to the pot and  allow them to start caramelizing in the olive oil.  After both sides of the chops are nicely seared, remove the lamb chops and place on a plate.  Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot.  Sautee and stir the vegetables for about 7 minutes and add the two teaspoons of sugar, ground allspice, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Sautee vegetables for another 7-8 minutes  or until they are slightly caramelized from the lamb drippings and soft and starting to brown.  Add the seared lamb chops and any juices back into the pan covering the chops with the sautéed veggies and add 1 cup of chicken broth.  The chicken broth should bubble up a bit when hitting the pan, if it doesn’t, cook until you see the broth bubble up.  Place a lid on the pot and transfer to a 300 degree oven for 3 hours.  Check every hour or so.  If the broth is low or looks like it has cooked down, add 1/4-1/2 a cup to keep the lamb chops from drying out.  Serve warm and spoon over reserved liquid and veggies.  Serve with mashed potatoes or risotto.  Be ready to be transported to the ultimate comfort food zone.

Plated Braised Lamb and Risotto

The lamb chops and mushroom risotto were plated a bit abruptly without the intention for a photo shoot, but my husband kindly took a photo before consuming, so I have added the picture to my post.  I ended up cooking my lamb for 5 hours (2 1/2 hours at 300 degrees and 2 hours at 200 degrees) due to not being home, so it was fall apart tender after being served.

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