Catalan Lamb Chops With Apricots and Sage
These beautifully seasoned fork tender shoulder lamb chops are simmered in a heady sauce redolent of vermouth, apricots, sage, tomatoes and cinnamon. It was inspired by a dish from Spain's Mediterranean coast.
The aromatic combination of ingredients harkens back to the Moorish culture that imparted many lush flavors to the international stew pot. Serve the chops on a bed of wide noodles or mashed potatoes.
1 tbsp. olive oil
4-6 shoulder lamb chops, about ¾" thick, fat trimmed, blotted dry
Flour for dredging
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
¾ c. dry vermouth
2 c. lamb stock
¾ c. diced canned tomatoes
6 fresh sage leaves + 4 leaves to garnish
1 large sprig rosemary
1 stick cinnamon
4 oz. soft dried apricots, diced
4 apricot halves to garnish
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat until very hot. Dredge the chops in flour, patting to remove any excess, then brown them on both sides. Remove to a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Add the onion and sauté until golden brown. Stir in the garlic, and then pour in the vermouth, stirring up all browned cooking bits. Add the lamb stock, the tomatoes, 6 sage leaves, the rosemary, cinnamon and diced apricots.
Return meat to the pan, cover tightly and cook until the meat is almost falling off the bones, about 1 ½ hours. If necessary, boil the sauce on top of the stove to reduce it to the proper consistency.
Serve each chop with a generous amount of sauce, garnished with an apricot half and a sage leaf.