Lamb - Roasts for Braising

Roasts for Braising

Tougher cuts of lamb that contain a large quantity of collagen (connective tissue) are ideal candidates for braising. The long slow cooking of braising dissolves the collagen, creating a rich, smooth sauce that is used as an accompaniment for the roast. The majority of the lamb carcass is tender enough for dry heat cooking methods, which leaves only a few cuts that require braising or stewing for the best results.

Neck

The neck is a small, tough, flavorful cut usually sold whole or cut into crosswise slices, and is cooked using moist heat. When braised, the fat and collagen in the neck melts, which helps to tenderize the meat. Because of the large quantity of bone in the neck, it is best to purchase at least a pound for each serving. Neck is excellent when trimmed and cubed for stew meat and it may also be ground.

Whole Breast

The whole bone-in breast can be used as a roast when cooked with moist heat. It is often boned and rolled in which case it is usually stuffed and braised.

Foreshank

The foreshank is the leanest cut of lamb and requires long slow cooking with moist heat to dissolve the connective tissue. It may be left whole or cut across the bone into rounds. The foreshank is also known as simply a lamb shank, but this can be confusing because the lower part of the shank half of the rear leg is also known as a lamb shank. A lamb shank is also known as a trotter.

Shank Half of Leg Roast, Bone-in

The shank half of the leg is leaner than the sirloin half, but it is tougher and chewier and has a higher percentage of bone. It becomes tender and succulent when properly prepared using moist heat cooking methods. It typically weighs 3 to 4 pounds. The shank half-leg is often confused with "lamb shank", which most often refers to the foreshank, but may also refer to the lower end of the shank half of the rear leg.

Shank Half of Leg Roast, Boneless

The shank half of the rear leg can be boned, rolled, and tied to form a roast suitable for braising.

Rear Leg Shank

A lamb shank usually refers to the foreshank, but this can be confusing because the lower end of the rear leg is also known as a lamb shank. To make it even more confusing, the entire lower half of the rear leg is referred to as the "shank half", but this cut is much larger than a lamb shank and includes part of the center leg. Foreshanks and the rear leg shanks may also be referred to as trotters. They may be braised whole or cut across the bone into slices for stew. Shanks must be braised or stewed to tenderize the meat.

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