It’s hard to find a cheap cut of meat these days that hasn’t been caught up in the ‘gourmet’ food fad and can no longer claim a place on the cheap cut list. I remember when lamb shanks were so cheap I used to buy them for my dog to gnaw on. I’m not even sure there are any cheap cuts anymore. The lamb breast was $8.99/kg, which ended up being about $9.50 for the cut. But what to do with it? I have seen it rolled and slow cooked but I thought I’d give it a try as a ragu.
This is a cut of meat that benefits from a slow braise. So I gave it a sear in a pan on the stove top then into the oven in a bath of red wine, chicken stock (all I had in the house) and a bay leaf thrown in for good measure. Covered with foil, it cooked for an hour at 170°C then I couldn’t take the smell of it cooking any longer and went to the pub for a huge roast lunch. I turned it down to 150ºC while I was there for an hour, or so. After 2-2 1/2 hours the meat was tender and the rib bones slid straight out of the meat.
Then make a simple tomato based sauce.
1. Soften 1 diced onion, 1 small diced carrot and finely chopped garlic in a few tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat with a large pinch of sea salt. I would have added celery too, if I had it.
2. toss in a splash of red wine, say half a cup.
3. add a small tin of tomatoes and the same amount of passata (only because I couldn’t decide which to use as just the tin tomatoes wouldn’t create a thick enough sauce, next time I’ll just use passata)
4. add a fresh bay leaf
5. you can also add some herbs, oregano, or thyme or finely chopped rosemary
Simmer for 15-20 minutes, taste for seasoning, (as I needed to add pepper and quite a bit of salt). Then add the pulled lamb and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve with good pasta and grated pecorino. Serves 4-6.