North African Style Braised Lamb Chops

It’s not enough that I have to pack for a brief sojourn to our neighbours up north. Oh no. I have to make and post a recipe as well. And do laundry. Call me multi-talented. This recipe has been adapted from How to Cook Meat by Christopher Schlesinger and John Willoughby. They initially had the recipe serve six, and they used lamb shanks to boot, but I didn’t have 6 friends who wanted to eat lamb tonight, and the supermarket was fresh outa shank.

I improvised…sue me.

Here’s what you need

  • 1 1/2 lbs of lamb chops, preferably from the shoulder area.
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons of dried thyme
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 1 lemon, peeled and segmented
  • 1 large tomato, thickly diced
  • 1/2 cup green olives in brine. Rinsed, pitted and halfed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Dry the lamb with paper towels and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In a 5 inch deep dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the lamb chopsto sear on both sides, about 3 minutes apiece. Once browned, transfer chops to a platter for use later.

Pour off any fat or add oil so there’s two tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions and cook until they are just translucent, about 7-9 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and cook for another five minutes, stirring occaisionally. Add the wine and stock and bring to a simmer, scraping any remaining browned bits from the lamb into the broth.

Add the chops, along with 1 Tablespoon of the thyme, bay leaf, and clove. Salt and pepper again to taste. Once the broth returns to a simmer, remove from the stove top, cover with a lid and place in the oven for apporoximately 1 hour.

When the chops are done, place on a platter and cover with foil. Skim the fat from the braising liquid and reduce until it is slightly thickened. Season with more salt and pepper and strain into a new clean pot. Add the lamb chops, lemon segments, tomatoes and olives, and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining thyme and parsley. Serve over your favorite starch, rice and/or couscous preferably.

Serves 2

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