Deep Stir: Lamb Collar with Chickpea Quinoa

When we’re making a weekend dinner, Greene Grape Provisions is one of our regular stops, especially to see the butcher. Last weekend, we asked the butcher to make a seasonal recommendation for our spring meal. We’d never had lamb collar before, but he suggested the recipe below. It’s not how I would normally think of lamb, but the meat was tender and flavorful. It was a great alternative to steak.

Quinoa is up there with kale as one of my favorite foods, but I wanted to try a new recipe. This pilaf combines chickpeas, cumin, and tomato paste for an almost Indian-inspired dish. The recipe made enough for two large sides and a full dinner the next night, and it even gets better overnight.

Lamb Collar

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. After allowing the lamb to rest and reach room temperature, season the lamb collar generously with salt and pepper.

2) Heat canola oil in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and sear the lamb collar for 2-3 minutes per side (four sides total).

3) Transfer the cast iron skillet to the 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes.

4) Remove the lamb from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board before slicing and serving.

Quinoa Chickpea Pilaf
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper (to taste, about 1 tsp of salt and pepper)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (14 ounces)
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped
1) Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat.  Sautee chopped onion in olive oil for 3 minutes until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
2) Add the spices and cook until fragrant, stirring continuously.
3) Add the tomato paste and mix well.
4) Pour in the quinoa, chickpeas and broth, and bring to a simmer.
5) Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid for 20 minutes.
6) After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for 5-10 minutes to continue to steam.
7) Just before serving, mix in a large handful of chopped parsley.
On the side, we ate roasted asparagus – why mess with perfection?
Do you have a butcher who makes suggestions for what’s good that day? Have you ever tried a cut that is out of the ordinary? How did it turn out?
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