Monday, August 4, 2008

Spiced Lamb Shoulder Ragout




It all started because I had tried everything in the Codman Farms on-your-honor freezers except the lamb shoulder. I decided to make it with some Moroccan-ish warming spices in a tomato base, and the result was the single best meat dish I have ever made. Hands down.

The meat itself was fall apart tender and had infused the whole stew with oodles of flavor and a nice dose of lamb fat. For spices I used a quarter of a cinnamon stick, a pinch of clove and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg.

It's still so counterintuitive, but don't forget that when you're slow cooking, meat gets tough before it gets soft. I'll never forgive myself for an early slow cooking foray in which I threw away a few pounds of oxtail which had hardened to a hockey puck consistency. I could not have imagined how tender they would have become.


Recipe: Spiced Lamb Shoulder Ragout

1/4 pound on the bone lamb shoulder per person
1 can tomatoes (or tomatoes if you got 'em)
2 onions
1 tbsp oil (olive or neutral)
1/4 stick cinnamon
1 pinch of ground clove
1 dash of freshly grated nutmeg
salt to taste

Sautee the diced onion in the oil until translucent. Make room for the lamb. Brown on both sides. Add tomatoes and spices. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours, or until it falls off the bone.

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Carol said...

my mouth waters...I know what you mean about tough before tender. after a few failures i followed cook's illustrated guideline of letting ck thighs (my fave easy braise) get to a ridiculous 210 degrees and it was transformational. I know precise temps are against the spirit of braising, but i can't help the little ocd thrill i get from possessing that knowledge.
Dave Sean and I went to an amazing chinese spot last week where we ate (ordered 1 day in advance) noodles that were fish. Not 'had fish in them' but were fish. But they didn't taste like fish. Please investigate.

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