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Spezzatino - Sicilian Braised Lamb Chops with Lemon-Olive Oil Potatoes

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INGREDIENTS
  • A fat pinch of saffron threads, about 24-30 threads
  • 3 cups of chicken or lamb stock
  • 4 pounds lamb chop shoulder steak, 4 to 5 chops to feed 4 to 6 people, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, pepperoncino, lightly crushed in your palm
  • 2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest or a long curl of peel
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh mint loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed
  • 6 medium russet potatoes peeled and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 1 lemon
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Flaky sea salt
PREPARATION

Place saffron in a small pot with the stock. Bring to a low simmer and reduce heat to keep warm and infuse the saffron into the stock.

Bring chops to room temperature and season liberally with Kosher salt and black pepper. 

Heat a wide, deep skillet with a lid over medium-high to high heat with a turn and a half of the pan of oil (not extra-virgin, use a filtered, innocuous oil). Brown the chops on both sides and the edges and remove from pan. Add onions, garlic, chili flakes, orange or lemon zest or peel, thyme, rosemary and bay to the pan, reduce the heat a bit and cook to soften, 7-8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until fragrant then add wine and raise heat again to reduce by half. Add saffron stock to the pan and bring to a bubble. Add chops, cover with the lid and braise at a low simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer to thicken, 15 minutes more.

Transfer meat to a warm platter. Whisk sauce up a bit and reduce if you wish to thicken a bit more. Chop mint and parsley and stir in herbs just before serving.

Meanwhile, place potatoes in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, salt water and cook to tender but not falling apart. Drain and return them to the hot pot. Add lemon juice and EVOO to coat lightly; toss and season with flaky sea salt to taste.

Serve chops doused in sauce and pass more sauce at the table for the lemon-olive oil potatoes.
 
 

 

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