If you read this column, you know I love to cook. As you may guess, I also love to grocery shop. In addition to the usual staples, if time permits, I wonder at the grocery store or specialty market looking for items that are new to me.
Recently, while shopping at www.sauttersmarket.com, I came across lamb breast. I have cooked a lot of lamb over the years and have shopped for it at many locations but never before had I seen or heard of lamb breast. Curious, I pulled it up on my cell phone and learned it is the thin layer of meat covering the top of the lamb’s rib cage. The meat was not originally not expensive but made even more so by a price reduction. Evidently, others also did not know what it was.
I brought the lamb breast home and decided to braise it – thinking it is tough so long and slow in fluids would be the way to go. It was!
I found a few recipes online and settled for semi-following one by Gordon Ramsey.
I seasoned the lamb with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano, layed anchovies on top and then rolled and tied. I then browned the rolled meat in a heavy roasting pot. After that, I removed the rolls from the pan and added lots of onions and whole cloves of garlic for a quick saute. White wine came next to deglaze the pan and then a can of whole tomatoes. This was brought to a simmer, seasonings were checked, a few sprigs of fresh mint were thrown into the pot, along with the meat. I applied a the lid and popped the braise into a 200 degree oven for a couple of hours.
Earthy, fragrant aromas filled my home as the meat cooked. It reminded me of a lamb roasting for Orthodox Easter. We were excited to taste the results. The wait was worth it. I was concerned the dish would be quite fatty but it was not. The lamb was very tender and had a big flavor. While not required, I could not resist making lemon, oregano roasted potatoes to accompany the lamb breast. A salad of wedged tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta and splashes of olive oil and red wine vinegar was also a tasty contribution to our meal.
We will do this again. Next time, I add more fresh mint and will definitely use less tomato and more wine to lighten the braising liquid.
If you see lamb breast in the store, consider trying this recipe.