Here, lamb shoulder chops develop an irresistible richness after simmering for just a short time in a rich red-wine broth. This braise can also be prepared with lamb shanks, which make a beautiful presentation.
Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops with Tomatoes & Rosemary
4 lamb shoulder chops, each 10-12 oz. (315-375 g.) and 3/4 inch (2 cm.) thick, trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) dry red wine
5 canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with some of their juices, coarsely chopped
10-12 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Season both sides of the chops generously with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chops without crowding them in the pan, and sear for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Turn and sear for 2-2 1/2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter.
Pour off the fat from the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low; wait for about 1 minute for the pan to cool down. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to remove the browned bits from the bottom. Simmer the liquid until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and their juices and the olives. Return the chops to the pan, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until the chops are tender and still lightly pink at the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a chop, away from the bone, registers 135-145°F (57-63°C), or to desired doneness, about 15 minutes. Turn and redistribute the chops halfway through. Transfer the chops to warmed plates.
Raise the heat to high and simmer briskly until the braising juices are slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the parsley. Spoon the sauce over the chops and serve at once. Serves 4.
Recipe from The Cook & the Butcher, by Brigit Binns.