When buying lamb chops, many people turn to the tried-and-true and expensive rib or loin chop. But for braising we love shoulder chops: This inexpensive cut is less exacting to cook, and its assertive flavor and somewhat chewy texture take beautifully to the moist cooking method. To ensure tender meat and a rich, flavorful sauce, we started by searing the chops to create fond and then built our sauce right in the pot. To stand up to the robustly flavored chops, we used plenty of assertive ingredients such as onion; garlic; warm spices like coriander, cumin, and cinnamon; and canned tomatoes for balanced acidity. Cooking the chops in the oven, covered, turned them tender and supple. Adding parsley at the last minute offered a hit of freshness to offset the richly flavored sauce.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
- 4 (8- to 12-ounce) lamb shoulder chops (blade or round bone), about ¾ inch thick, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of chops, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining chops; transfer to plate.
- Add onion to fat left in pot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and tomatoes and their juice, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer.
- Nestle chops into pot, adding any accumulated juices. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and cook until lamb is tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 1½ to 2 hours, flipping chops halfway through cooking.
- Remove pot from oven and transfer chops to serving platter. Stir parsley into braising liquid and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chops and serve.