Are you looking for new ways to prepare lamb? This delicious recipe breaks down How to Cook Lamb Shoulder Chops in 5 simple steps. This easy preparation of braised lamb is vibrant, full of flavor, and can be made on the stovetop or in the oven.
My family, comprised mostly of carnivores (including the little one), are partial to lamb. As a result, I am always looking for alternative and more economical cuts since lamb loin and rib chops can get expensive. The local Whole Foods market had lamb shoulder chops on sale. I haven't paid much attention to this cut before, so I was eager to experiment and come up with something simple yet delicious.
First, let's talk about the two shoulder chop cuts: The Blade Chop and the Arm Chop. Both resemble steaks. They are well-marbled, which gives them a ton of flavor. The most basic and quickest way to prepare shoulder chops include grilling, pan searing, or broiling. Keep in mind, the shoulder cut has more connective tissue; therefore, it can be tough and hard to chew. For this reason, I prefer to braise the lamb shoulder chops, to get that falling-off-the-bone, tender result.
Furthermore, lamb has a distinct taste and stands up well to assertive seasonings and flavors. Bold spices like rosemary and the robust flavors of pomegranate molasses are a great pairing to the lamb. These are well balanced by the acidity from the oranges, which also gives a nice tang to the overall dish.
HOW TO COOK LAMB SHOULDER CHOPS
Lamb shoulders chops are a great inexpensive option for meat lovers. The steaks are typically cut one-inch thick and can be grilled, seared, or braised in the oven or stovetop. In this recipe, we will first sear the chops on the stovetop, and then braise them in the oven.
- lamb shoulder chops - Arm chop or Blade chops are fine
- Herbes de Provence seasoning and salt
- oranges (both zest and juice)
- pomegranate molasses (if you can't find any at your local grocery store, swap with balsamic vinegar. Alternatively, you can find them online. This is the one used in this recipe, and here is an organic option with just two ingredients.
- fresh rosemary (optional)
- water or stock
- fresh parsley (optional)
- fresh mint or cilantro (optional)
- pomegranate seeds (optional)
STEP BY STEP PROCESS
1| Season the meat
Season the lamb with salt and Herbes de Provence. If you don't have Herbes de Provence seasoning, feel free to use dried thyme and/or rosemary.
2| Brown the meat
Start by heating a dutch oven or a cast-iron braiser over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Drizzle avocado or olive oil, just enough to coat the pan. Place each shoulder chop in the pan, don't overcrowd, and cook without turning until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and repeat with the second batch. You can also speed up this process by searing the other chops at the same time, in a second pan. I used this cast-iron skillet for my second pan.
3| Preheat oven
Preheat oven to 300º F.
4| Aromatics and making the sauce
In the dutch oven or a pan with a lid (I used the same dutch oven I seared the meat in), add garlic, fresh rosemary, and orange zest to the pan and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
Pour orange juice and pomegranate molasses. Transfer the meat from the plate back into the pot, including any juices accumulated on the plate. Add water or stock, just enough to cover the chops about ⅔ of the way, and combine with a spatula. Add parsley for extra flavoring. Turn down the heat to medium and allow the liquid to get to a gentle boil. Close the lid and transfer the entire dutch oven/pot to the preheated oven.
5| Cooking and final touches
Cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and almost falling apart. Check halfway to make sure there is enough liquid.
Also, don't be alarmed if the meat looks dark coming out of the oven.
Another option is to cook on the stovetop and skip the oven all together. Just reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Periodically, check to make sure there is enough liquid, and add more if necessary.
The braised lamb shoulder chops are delicious over mashed potatoes, or with a side of rice or quinoa.
Garnish with pomegranates seeds and some fresh mint, or another fresh herb of choice, just before serving.
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Lamb Shoulder Chops
- 4 - 6 pieces lamb shoulder chops, blade or arm chops
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence seasoning
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 large oranges, 1 zested and both juiced
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, can swap with balsamic vinegar
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, optional
- 1 cup water or stock
- fresh parsley, optional
- fresh mint / cilantro
- pomegranate seeds
- Season lamb with salt and Herbes de Provence.
- Heat a dutch oven or a braiser pot over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes or until hot. Drizzle avocado oil or olive oil, just enough to coat the pan. Place each shoulder chop in the pan and cook without moving until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and repeat with a second batch. Alternatively, use another skillet or pan to sear chops simultaneously, speeding up the process.
- Preheat oven to 300º F
- In the dutch oven or a pan with a lid (can use the same dutch oven the meat was seared in), add garlic, fresh rosemary, and orange zest to the pan and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Pour orange juice and pomegranate molasses. Transfer the meat from the plate back into the pot, including any juices accumulated on the plate. Add water or stock, just enough to cover the chops about ⅔ of the way. Add parsley for extra flavoring. Turn down the heat to medium and allow the liquid to get to a gentle boil. Close the lid and transfer the entire dutch oven/pot into the preheated oven.
- Cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until meat is fork tender. Check halfway to make sure there is enough liquid.