Monday, April 22, 2013

Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops

I was thrilled when I picked up our meat CSA box to discover not just the ground lamb I had specifically ordered, but two bonus cuts of lamb. I thought the lamb shoulder chops might be a good for a quick heat on the grill, but luckily, I checked my recipe archive instead and discovered they're much better suited to a long braise. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical of the idea of cooking such a small piece of meat for more than an hour, but the unbelievably tender results were well worth it. This recipe shines with a bit of planning ahead for the rub, but requires very little effort.

One year ago: White Chocolate and Raspberry Tartlets
Three years ago: Tomato and Olive Penne

Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops (from All About Braising)
Spice Rub
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp allspice berries
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of ground turmeric
pinch of cayenne
4 bone-in lamb shoulder chops, at least 3/4" thick
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion (8 ounces), sliced 1/3" thick
large pinch saffron
coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup lamb, veal, or chicken stock

1. Combine fennel, coriander, peppercorns, and allspice in skillet. Toast until fragrant, 3 - 4 minutes. Grind to coarse powder. Add remaining rub ingredients.
2. Dust lamb with rub on both sides. Lay on plate and cover with plastic. Refrigerate 12 - 24 hours.
3. Heat oven to 300F.
4. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in large ovenproof skillet. Add chops and brown well on both sides, turning once, 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
5. Lower heat to medium-low and add remaining tbsp of butter. Add onion and coat with butter.
6. Sprinkle saffron onto onion, season with salt, and cook until onions have softened, 8 - 10 minutes.
7. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
8. Add stock, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer. Deglaze pan. Simmer 3 - 4 minutes.
9. Return lamb chops to pan and spoon onion on top. Place parchment over pan and cover with lid. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, turning after 30 minutes.
10. Transfer chops to plate and cover with foil. Reduce sauce. Serve chops with onion sauce on top.

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