When you have the time, the warm, deep flavors of a good braise can be a wonderful wintertime indulgence. Start with a hard sear on your meat, then layer the flavors to create something that’s both complex and comforting. Chef Chad Colby of Chi Spacca shows you the basic steps, using his stellar recipe, Lamb Braise with Orange, Olive and Mint.
Serves 4 to 6 people
5 pounds lamb neck
Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, cut in 12 wedges
1 carrot, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 celery stalk, cut into 1 inch cubes
10 garlic cloves, peeled
16 anchovy, filets
2 oranges, cut into 6 wedges
4 to 8 rosemary sprigs
2 cups Castelvetrano olives
2 cups white wine
6 cups chicken stock
Salt meat for a minimum of four hours, preferably overnight, seasoning with 1 teaspoon per pound of meat.
Sauté the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic until well caramelized. Add rosemary, anchovies, and white wine. Use a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan, incorporating all the fond into the liquid.
Add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Remove entire contents of pan into container or stock pot.
Add seared pieces of meat and olives to empty pan. Lay large piece of cheese cloth over olives and lamb.
Pour contents of liquid and vegetables on top of the cheese cloth, then add oranges. Fold over cheese cloth from four sides. This creates an easy straining pouch which can be removed later. Put tight fitting lid on top of braise.
Bake in convection at 225 degrees F (in convection oven) for 4 hours or until meat is fork tender (or 250 degrees F in conventional oven).
Remove from oven. Remove cheesecloth and discard contents.
Carefully skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid.
To finish, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add desired portion of meat (or all of it, if you’re hungry!) to the sauté pan. Add olives and a few ladles of braising liquid and cook until liquid reduces to a sauce, continually basting the meat throughout.
To serve, place meat and olive on platter. Add chopped parsley, whole mint leaves and chopped preserved lemons, to taste. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.