Last year, we purchased a lamb meat share from a local butcher and partially filled one of our chest freezer with a wide variety of cuts — leg, shanks, ribs, quarter, chops, shoulder chops and forequarter chops. As we've been cleaning out the freezers, making sure every last bit of our CSA meat share (lamb, beef and chicken) are put to use, I realized that we still had two lamb forequarter chops that had been missed. (I had been under the impression that all that was left of that meat share was the 9-pound leg of lamb I'm saving for Easter dinner.)
Having not made this cut before, I soon found myself searching the internet for an easy recipe for forequarter chops. I landed on a one-pot dish made in a slow cooker, that used ingredients I had on hand — onions, garlic, potatoes, cannellini beans, stock and tomato paste. But, when I made the recipe a few days later, I was surprised when the recipe called for the chops to be fried in the slow cooker until browned; my Crock-Pot has three settings — warm, low and high — it's not frying anything. (Not to mention this one-pot recipe was now using a second pan.) I shrugged my shoulders and did the first two steps in a skillet, transferring everything to the slow cooker and moved on. It wasn't until later, when I added in the potatoes, that I realized they would take longer to cook in a slow cooker than the 20 minutes called for in the recipe. (It was more like 40 minutes.)
Returning to the website I took the recipe from — an Australian cooking blog — I determined my mistake was that when the author uses the term "slow cooker," she's referring to a Dutch oven, not an actual slow cooker. But my mistake was a happy accident. The change from a Dutch oven to a slow cooker also extended out the cook time for the lamb, as well. All's well that ends well. We still enjoyed a delicious, savory meal of lamb with potatoes, onions and white beans. And I'd make it again — only this time, in a Dutch oven.
SLOW-COOKED LAMB FOREQUARTER CHOPS
(Adapted from bestrecipes.com.au)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lamb forequarter chops
1 medium onion sliced
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup of dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
2 large potatoes, chopped
One 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in Dutch oven. Add chops and fry until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, heat remaining oil, add the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Stir in stock, wine and tomato paste. Season with the herbs, pepper and salt.
Add the fried chops to the pot, simmering for about 2 hours, 10 minutes, adding some more stock if needed and stir occasionally. Cover with lid.
Add potato. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in beans and cook for another 5 minutes.