Braised lamb breast ragu

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.

I find it easier to separate and pull the meat while it is still warm. You will find alot of meat in between the layers facia. It is quite fatty, so try to remove as much as you can.

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.