Lamb neck rings don't sound like a particularly appealing cut of meat and nor do they look it when seen on the supermarket shelf. For these reasons, they can usually be picked up fairly inexpensively in comparison to other portions of lamb. When they are cooked in an appropriate fashion, however, they are not only incredibly tender but absolutely delicious. The downside is that there is a lot of waste on them in the form of bone and fat so more are required to be served per person than may at first appear.
Lamb neck rings and apricots with minty twice baked potato
The full instructions for making a basic twice baked potato can be found in my recipe for Steak, Sausages and Horseradish Twice Baked Potato which is why they are not simply repeated in this article prior to the stage of flavoring the cooked potato flesh.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
Lamb neck rings
- 1 large baking potato
- 4 lamb neck rings, each around ¾ inch thick
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small onion
- 1½ teaspoons dried mint
- 1 pint fresh chicken stock
- 2 small ripe apricots
- ¼ stick (1 ounce) butter
Rings are firstly browned in hot oil
When your potato is in the oven, pour the vegetable oil in to a large pot and bring it up to a medium to high heat. Season the neck rings with salt and pepper and brown them on both sides in the oil. You may need to do this in two batches and they will take about a minute on each side.
Browned lamb neck rings
When the rings are browned, lift them temporarily to a holding plate.
Onion is fried in hot oil
Peel the onion, cut it in half down through the core then lay each half flat and slice across the way. Separate each slice in to strands and add them to the hot oil. Saute for a minute or two over a low to medium heat until they are all nicely softened and just starting to take on color.
Dried mint is scattered over lamb and onions
Return the lamb neck rings to the pot with the onions and scatter over one teaspoon of dried mint.
Chicken stock is poured in to cooking pot
Pour the chicken stock in to the pot, ensuring all the lamb rings are comfortably covered. More stock or even water should be added if necessary. Turn up the heat until the liquid begins to simmer then cover the pot and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for one hour. Check the liquid level every fifteen minutes or so and add some boiling water from a kettle if required.
Apricots are halved and stoned
Cut the apricots in half. Where they are sufficiently ripe, the stones should then easily pop free.
Apricots are added to stewing lamb
Cut each apricot half in half again and add to the pot with the lamb when the hour is up. Bring back to a simmer for ten further minutes.
Potato flesh is seasoned and ready for mashing
When the flesh of the potato has been scooped from the shells and in to a bowl, add the butter, the remaining half teaspoon of dried mint and some salt. Mash with a fork to fully and evenly combine.
Mashed potato is spooned back in to shells
Divide the mash between the two half shells and return to the oven on a baking tray for fifteen to twenty more minutes.
Stewed lamb neck rings with apricots
When the lamb and apricot stew is done, lift the lamb rings only from the pot to a heated plate with a slotted spoon. Cover with aluminum foil and leave to rest for ten minutes or so while the potato finishes cooking.
Twice baked minted potato
Remove the potato halves from the oven and place one at either end of a large oval serving plate (or opposite corners of a square one).
Rested lamb is plated with potato
Arrange the lamb neck rings between the two potato pieces and use the slotted spoon again to garnish with the apricots and onion.
Enjoying stewed lamb and twice baked potato
Bonus Recipe: Potted Lamb Neck Meat
This additional easy recipe is a further way of preparing and serving the meat from lamb neck rings for a light lunch or even as a snack. Potted meat was originally a way of preserving meat after it had been cooked in the days before electric refrigeration. The meat in those days was potted in fat to protect it from the air but in modern times the meat is more commonly potted in stock with added gelatin.
Potted lamb neck meat and toast
The flavorings used in cooking the lamb are almost infinitely variable and can easily be altered to suit availability or individual taste.
Ingredients (Makes 2 Pots)
- 2 lamb neck rings
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small onion
- 1 red chili
- 1 green chili
- 1 clove of garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- Gelatin as instructed on pack
Seasoning ingredients are added to lamb and onions
The procedures for browning the lamb neck rings and sauteing the onion are identical to the recipe further up this page. When the lamb is returned to the pot, add the dried herbs, and the roughly chopped chilies and peeled and sliced garlic clove. Pour in enough cold water (or stock if you prefer) to comfortably cover the lamb and simmer as before for one hour.
Lamb stock is strained
Remove the cooked lamb rings from the pot to a deep plate. Cover and leave to cool completely. The stock should be allowed to partly cool for half an hour before is is carefully (it will still be quite hot) strained through a kitchen paper lined sieve over a large bowl.
Steeping leaf gelatin before use
Gelatin can be bought either in powdered or leaf form. Sometimes, the powdered form can leave a grainy final effect so use the leaf form where available. It may be (as in this instance) that the leaves require to be soaked in cold water for ten minutes before being used in a recipe.
Strained lamb stock
Measure out half a pint of the lamb stock in to a small saucepan. The rest can be reserved for alternative use. Put the saucepan on to a medium heat until the stock just reaches a simmer. Turn off the heat and lift the saucepan to a cool part of your stove before adding the gelatin. This is because boiling liquid can prevent gelatin from setting. Stir for a couple of minutes with a wooden spoon until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
Meat from neck rings is divided between two small ramekins
Use your fingers to pick all the meat from the lamb neck rings in small pieces. Add the meat from each to a small, three inch porcelain ramekin or similar pot. Carefully pour in enough stock to cover the meat. The pots should be covered until cool then transferred to the fridge to set overnight. Try serving simply with some hot buttered toast.
Stock is poured over lamb meat in ramekins