I’m cooking and drinking wine, which means that the fire alarm is going off but I don’t give a shit. It’s one of those days that can only be solved by alcohol and a good family meal. Wait, that’s every day. Welcome to my world.
This is me, knife (that look says don’t cross me), and wine. Off camera my longtime BFF The Joy of Cooking. It holds the secrets to our universe, for real.
Sadly this is the only picture I can provide for tonight’s meal. I tried snapping some non-iPhone photos and set the simmering pan of wine on fire. And right before that when I tried shooting the lamb chops browning I set off both fire alarms. Simultaneously. Talent, folks.
Okay, so lemme rewind a sec here and recap the last few weeks thus explaining the need to ingest half a bottle of wine and drown our dinner in the other half. Yup, I’m typing tipsy as dinner simmers on the stove. A first! Off camera my kids are watching horrible TV in the living room. I needed to admit that to release myself from the guilt of it. Ha! Better already!
I shared in my last post that my mom broke her tibia. Well she did, and also tore her ACL. Then the boys and I ditched her for the Dominican Republic last week (more on that later). It was seriously sad, leaving her behind, but my God-mom came down and stayed with her for the week and they laughed like schoolgirls the whole time so that was good. She had knee surgery on Friday, and we were set to return home Saturday. Saturday morning big brother developed a 103 fever, the second of our three flights was delayed causing us to miss the last flight, and we ended up staying the night at a Pittsburgh hotel before returning to the airport at 5am to catch our flight back to LA. I’m exhausted just typing that. We returned home to find my mom still in the hospital 4 days after her supposed “outpatient” surgery due to pain complications. Poor mama.
But now we are home. Except that nothing has been solved or gotten easier. Mom is still in pain, the big man still has a fever, and my blood pressure is through the roof (for real…I wish that were an exaggeration but it’s not). So to make it all better I’ve turned to my favorite cookbook and Merlot, and I’m happy to report that the results are quite pleasing. Here’s the recipe. Now you try!
Some version of BRAISED LAMB SHOULDER CHOPS
(from The Joy of Cooking…mostly)
Pat dry 4 lamb shoulder chops, about 3/4 inch thick. I forgot this step and mine still turned out great, so maybe don’t sweat this one.
Season with salt and pepper. I think I overachieved here because mine came out a tad salty. A word of caution.
Heat 1T butter and 1T olive oil in a skillet until the butter begins to turn light brown. I used my new Le Creuset cast iron skillet that I got on mega sale from Crate and Barrel…go get one, you’ll love it!
Brown the lamb chops evenly, trying not to set off the smoke alarm(s) like I did. This should take about 2 mins. each side. Remove chops and pour off all but 1T fat (yup, fat…it’s good for your brain!) from the pan.
Turn heat to medium and add 3 coarsely chopped garlic cloves and 1t dried herbes de Provence. Or whatever dried greenish herbs you have in the pantry. Make it something Italian.
Cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft but not brown. Follow this step exactly as written here or your garlic will end up bitter. Eew.
Add 1 cup white wine. Unless you’re already drinking Merlot, in which case go ahead and use the damned red. I did and it was scrumptious.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until reduced by half. Whatever you do don’t step back to snap a photo or the contents of your pan could end up flaming like mine did. It was totally cool in retrospect, but blowing it out like the world’s biggest birthday candle was freaky.
Add 1/2 cup stock (lamb, chicken, or whatever) and 1 cup tomato puree. I only had a can of whole tomatoes so I just pureed it. Duh.
Return the chops to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chops are tender. This should take about 40-45 mins., and you should plan to turn the chops only once, halfway through cooking. This is when you can turn on a timer, refill your glass, and throw together some side dishes (rice and sauteed veggies work great). Or you can use this time to blog…it’s a toss up!
Remove from heat and skim off any fat from the surface of the sauce. This is kinda’ gross yet totally satisfying. Like cutting someone else’s fingernails.
Add 1/2 cup halved pitted black olives. Or don’t. I left them out for the sake of my husband.
Garnish with chopped parsley. Or basil, which is what I had in the fridge.
Final thoughts on the dish: The meat was awesome, but tasted like lamb. Shoot. I feel like I shoulda’ seen that one coming. But so far as lamb goes, I think this was a pretty great version. Either that or hubby is smart enough to tell me so for the sake of self preservation. Try it! Let me know what you think!
OMG this just happened. I was cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner as hubby was running a bath for the kiddos, and from the hall bathroom I heard the saddest four year old voice ever wailing, “Owieeee, OWIEEEEE!”. My first thought was the the lamb created some sort of log jam for the little guy, so I was shocked when I ran into the bathroom to find him clutching his little man-jewels in pain. As he tells it, the little dude wanted to freshen up the room and “make a yellow rainbow” using the citrus air freshener which I (stupid me) keep on the back of the toilet. Apparently while spraying air freshener into the toilet, the little man also got some on his junk. The drama that ensued was completely heartbreaking since he wailed at increasing increments from the toilet into the bath, while sloshing water all over the floor, out of the tub and into his towel, laying on the bed, rolling on the bed, jumping on the bed, and all the while with his hands clamped over his sensitive boy parts. Poor, poor little dude. First I soaped, then I applied Pain relieving Neosporin, then administered Tylenol, then tried ice packs. Not sure which of these actually worked but after about 20 minutes of kicking his legs in the air like an injured beetle, the little kiddo was nearly asleep in my arms. OH, and I forgot to mention that in the middle of it all when I was trying to pour a teaspoon full of Tylenol in the mouth of a streaking four year old, big brother entered the scene with blood pouring from his nose. While papa cleaned up the trail of blood leading down the hallway I stood there in shock, not sure who the hell to help first. And even now I don’t remember who it was. I am happy to report, however, that they are both now secured in their beds, and I am a better parent having learned that “Keep out of the reach of children” is totally legit, y’all.