Dom’s Braised Lamb Head with Pork Neck Bones, Onions, Leeks & Kale: A Pressure Cooker Friendly Recipe

The family went to the grand opening of Doris’ Italian Market today & had a good time, while we were there we found a great deal on whole lamb head we couldn’t resist. I know it sounds nuts but the head is without a doubt my favorite cut of lamb. Keep the rack and chops; they taste pretty much the same all the way through, but the head is a symphony of flavors and textures- the brain & cheek being my favorite portions though the tongue is a close second. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it this is great stuff.

 Ingredients:

Several tablespoons olive oil,

1 Lamb head (preferably split since it’s easier to get to the good bits that way-most places that sell them will do that for you at no charge if they haven’t already),

1 Pound Pork Neck Bones,

1 can cream of broccoli soup (the regular condensed kind & add the appropriate amount of water as per instructions),

10 ounces or so of stock,

4 Medium Yellow Onions, Sliced (I used a mandolin, mostly because Shu’s boss gave her a spare one she had so it’s a new toy to play with; if you don’t have one just slice very thinly)

1 head or 4 tablespoons diced garlic,

12 ounces of cheap ass red wine

1 pound of diced Kale (stems and all)

1 large leek (run through the mandolin again)

1 Celery Root stems & all (peel and quarter the celery root and run through the mandolin; extra credit if you hum “The Godfather Theme” while doing so, just dice the stems)

3 tablespoons Cumin,

3 tablespoons black pepper,

2 tablespoons paprika,

1 tablespoon turmeric,

4 ounces of Mojo marinade.

 To prepare this is actually pretty simple; grab your trusty pressure cooker (or large pot just double cooking times) toss in the olive oil then the lamb head & pork neck bones, being sure to make them as compact a mass as possible. The reason by the way, that I combine the pork & the lamb is that I find that the unctuous loveliness of the pork prevents the lamb head from being overly gamy. Add the onions, leeks & celery root; making sure to loosely fill the gaps around the head then place the diced Kale on top. Next you toss in the liquids & spices give it a bit of a stir and bring to a rolling boil. Add a little water if need be you want the ingredients just barely covered with a minimum of liquid.

Once the mixture is boiling affix the top of the pressure cooker, lower to medium and cook for 2 hours; if using a regular pot, put on the lid and cook for 4 hours at the same temp.

 To serve use tongs to remove the lamb head sides & the pork bones and place on a serving tray, spooning out the vegetable mixture as needed.

Now you have a few options since you will have lots of left over cooking liquid, you can either cook rice or cous cous in the liquid for a wonderful side (with or without straining out the vegetables), save to make soup or just save to use as you would any stock. Don’t be afraid my kids loved this meal in fact they were fighting over who got to eat the eyes & for the record they both wanted to eat them.

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