This dish is based on a dish from Angela Hartnett and Cafe Murano. The original meal was described as “slowly braised lamb neck served with a light chickpea ragù. The vegetables from the lamb braising liquor adding to the richness of the base of the ragù”. The original recipe also added smoked paprika and fennel seeds, before simmering with tomatoes and chickpeas. We did not include those here but I am sure they would work well.
Trying to reproduce something similar, we started by soaking dried chickpeas overnight the following morning these were slowly simmered until nearly cooked (you could use tinned chickpeas to avoid this step). The cooking proper started with a small handful of lardon in one of our Tefal Ingenio handless pans. The lardon were gently cooked to release some of their fat. To this was added a simple soffritto of onion, carrot, celery and a chopped garlic clove. A little olive oil was added and the vegetables coloured.
Once well coloured the soffritto was set aside into the casserole that we were using for the majority of the cook. Back in the first pan, over a medium high heat, we then added the lamb neck fillets which had been generously seasoned with salt and pepper. These were rotated in the pan until all the surfaces were beautifully coloured.
The lamb was then added to the soffritto in the casserole. The pan was deglazed with the red wine so as not to waste any of the tastes built up in the Tefal pan. It was heated until all the alcohol had been boiled off. The wine was then added to the casserole along with one tin of tomatoes, gently crushed, and a little tomato purée. Although not absolutly necessary we also added a little concentrated chicken stock at this point. The Big Green Egg was then reconfigured to an indirect setting and the temperature stabilised at around 140C. The lamb was slowly braised for around 2 hours until it began to soften.
The meat was removed from the braising liquid and the cooked chickpeas were stirred through the ragù. This chickpea ragù was brought back to temperature and a sprig of thyme was added together with the lamb. This was then slowly cooked for a further hour or so. At this point everything was ready to eat – but we find the taste of these dishes is so much better the following day. Therefore, the BGE was then shut down and the whole thing was left overnight to cool (night-time temperature 4C).
The following day the ragù was reheated (meat above 70C). There were about 4 portions with perhaps a little ragù left over.
We found that a 360g ragù plus 2 lamb fillets worked well for 2 of us. The additional ragù was put into a dish and was used later with some Trofie pasta to make a light lunch.
The lamb ragù works well on its own as shown here (which is how it would be eaten in Italy) or with a simple green salad
Do give this a go ……………..
………………….. it is a great dish!
Variations: Although not yet tried, I suspect the addiction of fennel seeds and a little smoked paprika would work well as in the original description
Braised Lamb Neck and Chickpea Ragù
A rich braised lamb dish served on a hearty chickpea ragù
- 4 Lamb neck fillets
- 100g Lardon
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tins Chickpeas (or 200g of dried chickpeas)
- 1 tin of tomatoes gently crushed
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- A little concentrated chicken stock (optional)
- Olive oil
- Red wine
- Salt and pepper
- Sprig of fresh thyme
- (optional - smoked paprika and fennel seeds)
- Step 1 If using dried chickpeas, soak overnight and the following morning slowly simmer until nearly cooked (If you are using tinned chickpeas you can avoid this step).
- Step 2 Add the lardon to the pan and gently cook over medium direct heat to release some of their fat. Add the soffrito of finely chopped onion, carrot, celery with some olive oil until it takes on a little colour. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Once cooked, set aside into a casserole dish.
- Step 3 In the same pan add the lamb neck fillets seasoned with salt and pepper. Rotated in the pan until all the surfaces are beautifully coloured.
- Step 4 Add the lamb to the soffrito in the casserole. Deglaze the original pan with the red wine and keep on the heat until the alcohol had boiled off. Add the wine to the casserole along with the tin of tomatoes, gently crushed, and the tomato purée. If you are going to add chicken stock, do it at his point
- Step 5 Reconfigure the Big Green Egg to an indirect setting and let the temperature stabilise at around 140C. Braise the lamb casserole mix for around 2 hours until it begins to soften.
- Step 6 Remove the meat from the braising liquid. Add and stir through the cooked chickpeas and a large sprig of thyme. Reintroduce the lamb back into the casserole and continue cooking for a further hour or so.
- Step 7 At this point the dish is ready to eat, or can be left overnight for the flavours to intensify. If reheating the following day make sure the meat is heated to above 70C.
- Step 8 Remove the lamb and serve the ragu onto warm plates. Divide each fillet into 2 and serve 2 pieces of each portion of ragù
- Step 9 Any left over ragu makes a great dish in its own right or can be served with a short pasta