The lamb neck is often an overlooked piece of lamb that people don’t ask their butcher for. I went to a lamb cutting class and when asked which part of the lamb was the favorite, I don’t remember what my response was, but I remember the response of another person because he said lamb neck.
The butcher said it was one of the lower costs and under-valued. My Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta is a delicious way to prepare this underutilized part of the lamb that is so delicious.
Lamb’s neck is a very fatty piece, with a lot of bones, because of this the meat is full of flavor. It also means that it’s more of a stew piece instead of a steak or thick roast.
After you cook it, you have to wade in with your fingers, pull the meat out and the bones, and also drain all of the greases to get to the flavor-filled stock. It’s a bit of work, but really worth it. I served it over polenta this time, but a nice root vegetable mash or potato mash would be great. Serving it over a nice thick Sourdough would work well for sopping up that great gravy.
This is not a quick and easy worknight meal. You can put it into the crockpot, but the meat has to cool so that you won’t burn your fingers. The gravy will need to cool a little also before you whirl it around in the food processor.
Lamb Neck is an often forgotten but very economical piece of meat that is great for stew.
- 1 lamb neck
- 3 tbs cooking oil
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp paprka
- 1 pint lamb or chicken broth
- 4 carrots sliced into 3 inch pieces
- 2 large turnips quartered
- 3 large tomatoes (or a can of stewed tomatoes)
- 1 cup of red wine
- (as needed)
- 1 cup of water
- Using a dutch oven, heat the cooking oil.
- Sear all sides of the lamb neck.
- Throw onions, garlic, sprinkle with cumin, allspice, ginger, and paprika.
- When the onions are soft, add 1-pint broth and simmer for about an hour.
- Add in the carrots, turnips, and tomatoes and simmer until the vegetables and soft and the meat is ready to come apart.
- Place the meat on a plate to cool so that you can work with it.
- Place the cooked vegetables (except tomatoes and onions) in a bowl with a cover.
- Drain the stock into a gravy separator.
- Using the wine deglaze the dutch oven and turn the heat off.
- Pour the gravy without the grease into a food processor along with the tomatoes and onions or use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth.
- Add water to thin and spices to taste and return to dutch oven if you used a food processor.
- Pull the meat off the lamb neck and discard the fat and bones then add the meat to the dutch oven.
- Slice the turnips and carrots into smaller bite-size pieces and add to the dutch oven.
- Simmer on low the vegetables, lamb neck meat, and sauce.
- Prepare the polenta.
- Boil 4 cups water.
- Add in cornmeal.
- Stir until the cornmeal seems suspended and no longer falls to the bottom of the pot.
- Place lid on and give it a stir every so often until thickened.
- Ladle the polenta into a bowl, place a serving of lamb neck stew over the center.