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Braised Lamb Shoulder with Red-Eye Gravy over Cream Cheese Grits

Servings: 8

Tender slow-braised lamb gets dressed in a hearty red-eye gravy (so-named for its healthy dose of coffee) in this great-for-brunch-or-dinner dish from Chef Chip Flanagan of Ralph’s on the Park.


For the lamb

  • 1 5-lb. lamb shoulder, deboned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 6 cups lamb or veal stock
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the red-eye gravy

  • 1 lb. bacon, diced
  • 10 oz. shallot, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs. garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 oz. fresh thyme leaves
  • 10 oz. tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbs. blonde roux
  • 6 Tbs. pepper jelly

For the grits

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup stone ground grits
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6-1/2 Tbs. cream cheese
  • 3 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For serving

  • 8 large eggs, poached


Make the lamb

  • Heat the oven to 300º F. Heat a heavy roasting pan or large skillet. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan and brown the lamb on all sides. Remove from the pan.
  • Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and sauté until slightly brown. Add more oil if the pan is too dry. Place the lamb shoulder on top of the vegetables and deglaze with the white wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, and add the stock. Cover the pan and braise in the oven for 1-1/2 hours or until the lamb begins to fall apart.
  • Remove lamb from the pan and let sit out at room temperature. Meanwhile strain the lamb braising liquid from the pan and skim off the fat, and reserve the liquid for the gravy.
  • When the lamb is cool enough to handle, pull the meat apart with couple of forks.

Make the gravy

  • Cook the bacon over medium-low heat until crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Sauté the shallots in the bacon fat until softened. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant (do not let the garlic brown). Add the diced tomatoes and cook until they are soft and breaking down.

    Add the coffee and cook until reduced by half. Add the lamb braising liquid and cook until reduced by half.

    Thicken the gravy with the blonde roux. Finish the gravy with the pepper jelly. Add the bacon back into the gravy and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Make the grits

  • Combine the chicken stock, grits, heavy cream, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer.

    Stir the grits frequently to prevent sticking and burning.

    Continue to cook on a slow simmer, stirring constantly, until tender. If the grits get too thick before they are tender add water as needed. Stir in the cream cheese and Parmigiano, and adjust the seasoning to taste.

To serve

  • Reheat the lamb in the red eye gravy. Ladle the cream cheese grits into a serving bowl, and top with the lamb and a poached egg.


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