The photo of these lamb chops does not do them justice. What makes them so amazing is not just the rich, complex flavor, but the fact that they are so tender you don’t even need a knife. If blood oranges or juice are not available (they have a very short season), you can substitute pomegranate juice or regular orange juice. There are different cuts of shoulder chops; you can buy any of the different cuts, as long as they are bone-in. I imagine you could also use this same recipe with lamb shank, but I haven’t tried that yet. Now that Bryan and I have our own personal lamb farmers who are supplying us with the most delicious lamb from grass fed sheep that have been raised with absolutely no growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics, I will be adding many more lamb recipes.
- 3 lbs. Thick Cut Lamb Shoulder
- 1 Medium Onion – sliced
- 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
- 1 Cup Blood Orange Juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
- 1 Cup Red Wine
- 1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 TBS. Chopped Fresh Rosemary (1 TBS. if dried)
- 2 TBS. Chopped Fresh Thyme (1 TBS. if dried)
- 1 TBS. Honey (optional to sweeten sauce in the end)
- 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 TBS. Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Generously season chops with salt and freshly ground pepper. Over medium high, heat olive oil in a large ovenproof saucepan (one that has a fitting lid) or in a dutch oven. Add chops to hot oil and brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Don’t be afraid to get the chops really brown.
Remove chops from pan and set aside. Add sliced onions to pan and saute for 1-2 minutes, until just softened. Add garlic to pan and then deglaze the pan with the blood orange juice and wine. Add the vinegar, herbs and red pepper. Bring to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce by 1/2. While waiting for the sauce to reduce, preheat oven to 300 degrees. After sauce is reduced, return chops to pan (be sure to pour in any juices that are on plate), cover chops in onions. Cover pan and put in 300 degree oven for two hours or until fork tender. If not tender enough, return to oven and continue cooking. (Helpful hint: it is easy to forget that the usually heat-resistant handle and lid of the pan will become hot when placed in the oven – be sure to use a hotpad ). Remove pan from oven and set on stovetop. Transfer chops to a plate and cover with foil. Turn on burner and reduce sauce to desired thickness – I skim some of the fat off the top, but that’s optional. I cook it for another 5-7 minutes and it is just a little thinner than a traditional glaze. Check sauce for flavor, add salt and pepper if necessary, and honey if you want the sauce to have a little more sweetness. Serve sauce over chops and garnish with a sprig of rosemary (which I forgot to do in the above photo). You can add a couple of fried onion or shallot rings to the top of the chops for a little delicious crunchiness. Enjoy!