How to cook lamb shoulder chops (lamb shoulder steaks)….the French way.
Good heavens, the price of lamb chops here in Amerique profonde is sky high right now. I’m missing all those great tranche de gigot d’agneau (literally, slices of lamb leg; known in the US as lamb sirloin chops and lamb leg steaks) that I cooked up weekly in France.
One cut, however, that’s still casual-weeknight-worthy is the lamb shoulder chop (also called lamb blade chop, lamb arm chop, and lamb shoulder steak). Although you will find recipes out in the world that call for marinating and grilling this cut, I find this cut to be way too chewy when cooked quickly.
And so, craving lamb, but not quite down for a splurge, I got out the slow-cooker this past week. Yes, I could have used my braiser, but I wanted to head to the pool for the afternoon…so I did the fix-and-forget thing. (In general, although I prefer cast-iron braisers, a slow-cooker works wonderfully as a braiser, too.)
Although the long-simmering makes this sound like a fall-winter dish, if you serve it alongside something fresh and light (such as the simple tomato-greens salad, shown in the photo, above), it’s a summer-simple meal that tastes fab, right now.
The recipe comes from my book, The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day. The original recipe (below) calls for braising it on the stovetop but if you’re wanting to cook it in the slow-cooker, 3 to 4 hours on high will do just fine.
- 4 (10-ounce) bone-in lamb shoulder chops (also called lamb shoulder steaks, lamb blade chops, or lamb blade steaks), cut ¾-inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 15 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
- ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in an oven-safe Dutch oven or braiser over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook the chops, turning once, until brown, about 8 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the meat browns too quickly). Transfer the meat to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic cloves to the pan; cook and stir until just slightly brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the garlic cloves to the plate with the chops.
- Add the wine to the pan; increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and herbes de Provence. Return the lamb and garlic to the pan. Cover tightly, transfer to the oven, and bake until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour.
- Just before the lamb is finished, stir together the parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Transfer the lamb and 8 of the garlic cloves to a plate; cover with foil to keep warm. Using a fork, press down on the garlic cloves still in the pan (the garlic will pop easily out of the skins at this point). Discard the skins and use the fork to mash the garlic in the pan. Use a wire whisk to blend the garlic pulp into the pan juices. Bring the pan juices to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to about ⅔ cup. Stir in the lemon juice; taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
- Divide the lamb steaks among four dinner plates; top each with a little of the sauce, then sprinkle with the lemon-parsley mixture. Place 2 of the reserved roasted garlic cloves on each plate and serve.
Other posts you might enjoy:
• French Cooking Essentials (includes info about the slow-cooker I used in this post).
• What is a braiser? What is a Dutch Oven? Should you invest?
• How to Cook Gigot d’Agneau Provençal (Lamb Leg Steaks Provençal)