Monday, May 28, 2012

Braised Lamb Ribs with Apricots

Having sampled and posted
recipes for ribs of all sorts, I stood staring at East Fork Farm's chalkboard of listed cuts and realized I'd never tried lamb. I brought some home, but being somewhat of an ordeal to prepare (or so I assumed), it took a long weekend and friends coming over for a cookout to coax them from the freezer.
I had just under 2 pounds which I figured perfect for an appetizer, yet I wanted to try something different than my usual barbecue route. Borrowing Chichi Wang's recipe from Serious Eats, I was thrilled to discover such a hassle free preparation yielding such welcome results.
The extra fat characteristic of lamb ribs rendered the apricots and onions into a gorgeous chutney. Wang suggests saving the extra fat for future recipes, including one for skillet biscuits in her original post. I like the way she thinks.
This rib recipe is a keeper. If you are able to source pastured lamb ribs, I highly suggest giving them a try. Evidently they have somewhat of a cult following, which I now understand why.

Braised Lamb Ribs with Apricots
  • 1 half-rack lamb ribs, about 4 pounds
  • Spice rub:
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • A few tablespoons of oil for sautéing, or some trimmed off pieces of lamb fat
  1. 1

    In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the spice rub and set aside.

  2. 2

    Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil or lamb fat. Sauté the onions until they're softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  3. 3

    To assemble the braise: Cover the bottom of your pan with the sautéed onions and the apricots. Nestle the rack of ribs into the onions and apricots. Pour in enough water so that the ribs are 1/3 of the way submerged, about 2 cups. Cover the pan with foil.

  4. 4

    In the meantime, preheat the oven to 275°F. Braise the ribs in the oven until very tender, about 3 hours. Uncover the pan and turn the heat to 375°F. Continue braising until the fat on the surface is browned and the onions are very brown, about 30 minutes longer. Pour off the rendered lamb fat in the pan, setting it aside for another use.

    Serve hot or warm. Leftovers may be reheated in a 250°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.

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