What I don’t understand is how on the one hand I can’t drive five minutes from my house on any given day without passing a flock of sheep, yet the price of lamb in this country is so high. Especially when you get an entire forequarter; they don’t do anything to it except wrap it and freeze it, so why the premium price?
If you do get a lamb forequarter, this is an easy way to enjoy a little bit of the lamb. Think of it as a personal appetizer for the hours your going to be working over the main attraction. No one’s going to miss the neck, right? And just maybe if someone’s extra helpful in the kitchen, they’ll get a taste.
Then again, maybe not.
Thankfully, this is not a terribly involved or complicated recipe. The tricky parts are all about the butchering. And since it’s a stew anyway, you don’t need much finesse. Be careful when separating the bones that your knife doesn’t slip, and use a heavy enough knife that you’re not going to snap the blade. You simply need to work the knife into the space between the bones and twist the knife so the bones separate. Then cut around to release them from the ligaments.
Starting with the neck of a lamb (which I cut from a whole lamb forequarter), trim away the fat covering.
Separating the Meat from the Bones
Using a paring knife, slice away the meat covering the neck bones.
Separating the Neck Bones
Separate the neck bones at the joints
Separate the Components
Reserve the fat for rendering. Cut the meat up into small cubes.
Brown the Meat
Heat a deep pot with a little drizzle of oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, put the bones into the pot Brown for five minutes. Add the meat. Brown for another five minutes
Add the Aromatics
Add carrots, potatoes, onions, fennel, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Cover the meat and vegetables with red wine.
Cook the stew over a medium low heat for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.