You will require the following to amply feed two:
- 500g of Lamb neck fillet
- 500ml of good quality chicken stock
- 2 glasses of red wine (for cooking!)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 150g Arborio rice
- 2 Shallots, finely diced
- 450ml Good quality chicken stock
- 100ml White wine
- 100g Grated celeriac
- 50g butter
Braised lamb neck, celeriac risotto and Kale
At this time of year we’re all still too wary of the cold – there’s hints of spring but you can never be too sure. We’re only a few degrees away from another cold snap, a frozen car, gloves, cold ears and a red nose. The only thing you feel like doing is staying in bed till April. The best thing one can do to make this a little more bearable is to fill yourself up, and brave it out. One thing you can genuinely enjoy eating and feeling warm from is a slow braised piece of meat, with some starch to make you feel like you’ve got something inside you to keep you soldiering on. It’s either that or brandy – although the latter can be frowned upon, depending on who and when you ask.
My favourite cut to braise is lamb neck fillet, especially this time of year. They’ve spent the winter keeping themselves warm and not doing an awful lot (jealous!) and are a much better thing to eat for it. The meat is tenderer and generally has a higher fat content.
Start by ensuring there is no excess fat on the lamb neck fillets and chopping up your veg (or mirepoix in a commercial kitchen). Heat a frying pan until it is smoking hot, add a splash of vegetable oil and carefully place the neck fillets one by one. Top tip – place them in a ‘worm dancing motion’ away from you, this is the safest way not to burn your fingers. You can thank me later. Season generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper, allow the lamb to caramelise to a lovely golden brown colour and keep turning to evenly do so.
Once coloured all over remove from the pan, and add your mirepoix. Again colour this till golden brown, if it gets slightly too dark that’s not too much of a bad thing. Place the veg and the lamb in a tray for braising. Keep the pan on a high heat and add the wine (as long as you haven’t drunk it), but do pay attention as the alcohol is highly likely to catch fire and burn off. Allow the wine to reduce, then add this to the braising tray too. Pour over your chicken stock, then tightly tin foil the tray over, or pop on a lid should you have one.
The lamb will take around 3-3½ hours to cook on 170°C, you will know it is ready when it is soft and ready to flake up.
Strain the lamb after cooking, and keep the cooking liquor. Place this in a thick-bottomed pan and return to the heat to reduce and thicken. Use this to warm the lamb up in (it should go sticky and beautiful!)
Sweat the shallots in a thick-bottomed pan on a low heat until translucent, but do not colour them! Add the rice, and continuously stir until it is beginning to stick to the pan. Then add your white wine, this will not catch fire like the red wine above, so your eyebrows are safe this time round!
Once the wine has all been absorbed, begin adding your chicken stock, ladle by ladle full. Continue adding the stock until it has all been absorbed, and your rice is nice and al-dente. At this stage add your grated celeriac, and your butter. Stir until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat. Season the risotto with salt and pepper if you wish (the celeriac naturally has a slightly peppery taste naturally, so personally I would not).
Serve as pictured, it should hopefully have you warm in no time!