Recently, there was an engagement. Yes, one of THOSE engagements. My engagement, even – hell hath frozen over. Not only that, but I’m buying into three step-children. Boys. Mostly teenage boys (sidenote: my total aversion to having children is legendary, making this all the more amusing). Allow me to shoot the proverbial elephant in the room now – I’m 26, she’s 37. This has led to numerous hilarious encounters, especially given that the oldest, at 15, looks approximately 22.
I write this the day before my wedding, so things are a little hectic. When a pair of bike racers decide to get married, two crucial elements in the cyclist psyche engage: Impatience, and “Is this going to interrupt the race calendar?”. So, Kemi (note: part-owner, all-around badass racer on elite women’s squad DNA/K4) and I looked at the calendar, and the magic timing dartboard said “Two Months From Now”. February 8th, followed by a two-month-long training-adventure-honeymoon in Latin America (Colombia and El Salvador, if we’re being accurate).
More pressingly, I found my culinary skills now employed in shoveling food into the gaping maws of five humans capable of eating more individually than combined starting lines of many college football squads. And terrifyingly, they’re not that picky. I can get away with serving lamb, chayote, fennel, good flank steak cooked rare, or coq au vin for dinner without complaint. Or maybe it’s because throwing down the buttery-sugary Belgian diabetic-heart-attack-gut-bomb known as the Liege waffle for breakfast is a dietary negotiation tactic. In any case, behold the magic of the “One Pot Meal”. This iteration is a Costco-sized package of lamb chops braised in a bourbon reduction with a pile of starchy veggies. Recipe follows.
Bourbon Reduction Braised Lamb Chops
4 tbsp canola oil
2 lbs lamp chops
4 cups broth or stock of your choosing – I used BTB chicken to cut through the lamb’s richness a bit
Pinch of flour
3-4 big carrots, halved and quartered.
1/2 med onion, chopped big
Garlic. Whole smashed cloves. 3-4 cloves.
2 tbsp minced shallots
1/2 medium white/yellow onion, minced
1 c carrots, chopped roughly
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 c bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maldon salt
2 tbsp fresh minced sage
Get the oil hot, just below smokepoint in a big ovenproof pot – preferably a dutch oven. Add lamb, one chop at a time as to not overwhelm the hot oil. Brown each side for 2-3 minutes. Pull the lamb and set it aside. Pour off a bit of the oil if the lamb has seriously let go of some fat. Begin the reduction prep in the pot with the oil. Reduce heat to medium, add onions, garlic, shallots, carrots, and peppercorns. Saute until the onions begin to go translucent, then add the bourbon, salt, and vinegar. Preheat oven to 375. Simmer until it’s reduced in half or so on stovetop – it took about 15 minutes for me. Add the sage.
Add lamb to the pot, then the broth. If there isn’t enough to cover the lamb, add water. Stir flour into the mixture. Bring to a simmer on the stove and put it in the oven uncovered. Let it simmer for an hour, then add the rest of the carrots/potatoes/onions. Let it reduce another hour or two. I let mine go until the top couple inches of lamb and veggies were exposed to get a nice crispy crust on top. Pull it out, serve with the reduction over the top and a slab of crusty bread.