A few weeks ago, my friend Andrew tipped me off about a Lamb meat CSA affiliated with Barbara Lynch’s The Butcher Shop in Boston’s South End. This past weekend, we picked up our first share and had the awesome experience of watching one of their chefs butcher a lamb, taking it from a huge, daunting carcass down to easily manageable cuts you’d recognize from the meat case in a grocery store.
When it was all over, we took home a double rack chop and a leg roast. We decided to cook the rack chop that night, aiming to feed three people. To stretch the ~ 3/4 lb of meat out and make maximum use of all the bone, fat, and connective tissue, we decided on a two-part approach. We would braise the rack chop in delicious spices, reserve the meat, and use the braising liquid to make a risotto.
And it was delicious.
- double rack chop of lamb, about .75 lb
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons rosemary, dried (but you could use fresh for extra credit!)
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- 1 cup chicken or beef stock
- 2 leeks, chopped into half medallions
- .75 lb mushrooms, chopped into thin slices
- 1.5 cups dry white wine, we used Alandra box wine, which is delicious and cheap
- at least 2 cups of water, maybe more
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- .25 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Take your rack chop, drizzle on the olive oil, and rub it with black pepper, salt, and rosemary.
Start a small dutch oven or stock pot heating up on medium heat. (If you’re using a dutch oven, also heat up your oven to 300 degrees.) Once it’s warm, add the butter to the pan and stir as it melts. Once it’s just beginning to smoke, turn up the heat to high and sear the rack chop for about 2 minutes a side.
Once it’s nicely browned, add the chicken stock, 3/4 cup of white wine, and 3/4 cup water to the pot. It will be noisy and there will be steam. Once the liquid is boiling, bring heat down to a simmer and cover the pan. (If you’re using a dutch oven, cover it and pop it in the oven.) Let the meet braise for two and a half hours — after an hour or so, flip the rack of lamb to submerge the other side.
After the lamb flakes apart with a fork, sample a little bit because your kitchen will smell so damn good that you’ll have been thinking about doing just that for the last hour. Take the lamb out of the pot, pull the meat off the bones, and reserve the meat.
Also reserve the braising liquid, which will now contain a bunch of delicious lamb juices and fat — we’ll be needing it shortly. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan and cook the mushrooms over low heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of white wine and scrape everything into the braising liquid.
Heat up a separate pot (we used a wok, but any large saucepan will do) and add in the remaining butter. Once melted, add in the leeks and cook over low heat until they start to get soft. Add in your arborio rice and a dash more olive oil and stir over medium heat for a few minutes to coat the rice with oil and butter.
Add in the remaining wine to the pan and stir until it is absorbed by the rice.
Slowly add the braising liquid to the pan about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed. Continue to add liquid, stirring to absorb, until the rice is soft but not mushy… okay, al dente. I wasn’t going to say it, but you made me. Add in the lamb meat, mushrooms, and cheese and stir for another minute to combine.
Serve with a crispy cucumbery salad and a glass of rosé.