I've found that lamb breast can be had at a very reasonable price. We bought some and were wondering what to do with them. The meat seemed very fatty, and as with most ribs I thought it would be wise to cook them slowly in or over liquid, such as with a stew or perhaps using a braising method. This recipe does just that, and the results are a great dish that can be served by itself or over rice.
- Lamb breast, about a pound
- 1 onion
- 2-3 carrots
- 2-3 stalks of celery
- 2-4 cloves of garlic
- 1 lb. red beans
- 1 cup good red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- oil (olive or canola would be fine)
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Take the lamb and trim away the excess fat. Cut the lamb into small portions; about 2-4 ribs per portion. Rub with oil and a bit of salt.
Have a spare plate ready. Heat a largish pan very hot; nearer the high side of medium-high. You'll want to sear the lamb breasts. Place the breasts skin side down into the pan. Don't crownd the pan; work in small batches if necessary. Sear the lamb for about five minutes on the skin side. Flip the lamb over and sear for another two to three minutes. Remove from the pan onto the spare plate.
NOTE: Even after trimming the fat, there will still be a lot of fat on the surface. This will burn and turn to smoke. While the smoke will make the meat delicious, it will make your kitchen unbearable if not handled. Open some windows and turn on your exhaust hood. Better yet, do this part outside on the grill. Even better, do the whole thing outside over a fire with a cast iron pan and a Dutch oven.
While the lamb is searing, you may find that you can prep some of the other ingredients, which will save time. If you're just now getting to this section of the recipe, then just remember that you should try to do this in parallel with the searing...
Chop the onion, carrots, and celery into smallish pieces. Honestly, they can be large pieces if you like things to be chunkified. I ain't judging. Also, slice up the garlic, or chunk it up. Or use it whole (skinned of course).
In a large pot (oven safe!) or Dutch oven, heat up some oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions, celery, and carrots, plus a pinch of salt. DO NOT ADD THE GARLIC YET. Cook the vegetables a bit. You want the vegetables to simmer and become slightly translucent. If they brown a bit, that's okay too, as that's basically the sugars in the vegetables caramelizing. Black is not okay. If it's black, toss it and try again. Seriously. Don't ruin this by using burned food.
Once the onions, carrots, and celery are to your liking, add the garlic. Don't let the garlic burn. It wants to. You'll tell it "NO BURNING!" but as soon as you look away it will burn. Garlic is like the child that likes to get in the cookie jar. You tell it no, but it will get in there when you look away. You know which child I'm talking about.
After the garlic is heated up a bit BUT NOT BURNED, add the wine and the beef broth. You can do without either one, honestly, but I found that the wine added a lot of nice subtle flavors while the broth tempered some of the sweetness of the fats, keeping the dish from becoming cloy. Don't use any wine that you would not otherwise drink. So-called cooking wine is a step above window cleaner.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the heat. Add the red beans, the thyme, and the cumin, and stir. Now add the bay leaves. Place the seared lamb breasts on top of the mixture. Place the pot into your oven (or over your nice coals on your campfire, and be sure you have a nice whiskey and a cigar and tell the wife that you need to tend to the delicate dinner). Keep it there for 2-3 hours. Check on it at an hour and a half. If the liquid is low, add some Chateau Faucét (water). Cook until the lamb is very tender and the beans are tender.
You can optionally cook some white rice and serve this overtop the rice. It would be a disappointment if you were to use instant rice.
You can also use a bell pepper in place of the carrots. This is more traditional to the Cajun style of cooking. Or, if you really like spicey, use 2-3 jalapeños.
Tagged as lamb, beans, main dishes