Lamb Necks Braised in Wine with Peppers

This recipe was printed in the New York Times last month and is a delicious way to make use of a little known cut of meat that is included with all of your whole lamb orders.   While the recipe below is for two lamb necks, those of you with a single whole lamb order can simply cut the list of ingredients in half and have a wonderful dinner for two.    We find that this dish goes really well with a Douro wine (a nice Portuguese red that we discovered) and a fresh round of sourdough bread is a great way to sop up and enjoy the incredible sauce created by this dish.   Enjoy your lamb!

Time: 3 hours, plus marinating

2 lamb necks, about 4 1/2 pounds, each in 4 slices
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Salt and black pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (hot paprika can be substituted)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, in 1/2-inch slices
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, in 1/2-inch slices
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves.

  1. Place lamb in a heavy sealable plastic bag. Combine wine, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and add to bag. Seal and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours. (Lamb can be marinated in a bowl, but more wine might be needed.) Remove lamb from marinade. Strain marinade, separately reserving the garlic and rosemary, and the marinade.  (note:  Since Touchstone Farm lamb is ‘fresh frozen’ feel free to let it marinade overnight).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy casserole large enough to hold lamb. Add onion, sauté on low until softened, and stir in Aleppo pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Add garlic and rosemary leaves (no stems) from the marinade. Add 1 1/2 cups of the marinade and boil down until nearly evaporated.
  3. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place lamb in casserole. Add remaining marinade. Cover and cook 2 hours, until tender. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a skillet. Add pepper strips and cook, stirring, on high heat until soft and lightly seared. Lower heat, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar and the honey. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When lamb is tender, transfer it to a serving platter. Heat sauce on top of stove, stir in tomato paste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Spoon around meat, scatter pepper strips on top and scatter on parsley.

Yield: 4 servings.

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