serves: 4 servings
Here's an uncommon preparation for one of the most common and popular cuts of meat in the market: thin-cut lamb shoulder chops. They're inexpensive, wide and meaty. Barely 1/2-inch, they look like they'll cook in a minute, perfect for fast family suppers. But shoulder chops also have lots of cartilage, gristle and usually 2 sets of bones, which call for slow cooking (and the meat is tougher than it looks).
Though it is a thin chop, it will take 20 minutes to cook. Get out the big skillet to caramelize the meat and flavoring agents and then bring everything together in a superb sauce. With surprising ingredients, this is a good recipe to add to your growing repertoire of aglio e olio base sauces. Also, as the sauce reduces, it actually braises the chops for a few minutes, which tenderizes the meat a bit, although it will still be chewy (which I love).
4 lamb shoulder chops, 1/2-inch thick or less
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup flour, or so to coat the chops
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons anchovies, finely chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon peperoncino, or more or less to taste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Vegetable broth, or more
Trim the fat from the outside edges of the chops. Salt them on both sides lightly, using 1/4 teaspoon. Spread the flour on a plate or on a piece of foil; dredge the chops in on both sides to coat lightly, then shake off the excess flour.
Put the oil and butter in the skillet and set over medium-high heat. As the butter foams, lay the chops in the pan. Fry them on the first side for 2 minutes, then flip them over-the meat should only be light brown; if they're darkening too fast, lower the heat.
Scatter the garlic in empty hot spots in the pan. Cook for a minute, stirring the slices until they're sizzling, then drop the anchovy bits into the hot spots and stir as they heat and melt away. Shake the skillet and sprinkle the peperoncino in the hot spots and give them a minute of sizzling.
Turn the meat over, so the first side is down again. Fry for 2 minutes-shaking the pan now and then-and flip over once more: by now there should be some nice caramelization on the meat.
Spill the vinegar into the hot spots; shake the pan and tilt it to distribute the juices all around; sprinkle another 1/4 teaspoon salt all over. After about 2 minutes turn the meat pieces again.
Now plop the mustard into several different hot spots-shake and stir and caramelize it for a minute.
Turn the meat one more time-it will be getting darker-and pour the broth into the skillet. It should come well up the sides of the meat, almost but not quite over the top. Get the juices boiling, and then lower the heat to keep a lively bubbling simmer in the pan.
Relax! Let the meat cook, the sauce thicken and the flavors come together for 3 or 4 minutes. Taste the sauce-sprinkle in more salt if you like. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil all over to give the sauce more shine, if you want.
About 5 minutes after the broth went in or whenever the sauce has become syrupy and looks the way you like it, sprinkle the parsley all over. Turn the meat once more, shake the skillet one last time and take it off the heat.
To serve, put a chop on a warm plate and spoon over some of the sauce.