Chili Braised Lamb Ribs with Field Peas, Turnips and Greens, and Chili Vinegar

Photo by Sera Petras

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4 servings

  • 4 pounds lamb ribs (preferably from Border Springs Farm)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 knob fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 tablespoons prepared harissa
  • 6 cups lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat recommended)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (Bourbon Barrel Bluegrass Soy Sauce recommended)
  • Field Peas
  • ¼ cup (Edwards Surryano Ham (or preferred country ham), diced
  • 1 Spanish onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 cups (Sea Island Red Peas, black-eyed peas, or whatever peas you have on hand
  • 6 cups water or stock
  • Salt
  • Turnips and Turnip Greens
  • 8 turnips with greens (small, tender turnips are best)
  • 1–2 tablespoons bacon drippings or oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chili vinegar (recipe follows)
  • Chili Vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup Thai chilies, red or green, stems and ends removed

Lamb Ribs

  1. Sear ribs over high heat with oil in a Dutch oven until deep brown in color, then set them aside.
  2. Add all vegetables and aromatics to the rendered lamb fat and oil and cook until lightly brown. Add harissa and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Place ribs back into Dutch oven, then pour in stock, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until ribs are tender but not falling off the bone. When finished, remove ribs and place into a shallow dish. Strain cooking liquid over top, and refrigerate overnight.

Field Peas

  1. Over medium heat, slowly render country ham in pressure cooker until a fair amount of fat is visible (if more fat is needed, add 1 tablespoon of oil), then add onion, garlic, and bay leaf and cook until tender and translucent.
  2. Add peas and stock and bring to a boil. Close pressure cooker and cook peas as recommended by manufacturer. When time is up, allow for pressure to dissipate naturally. Open pressure cooker and test for doneness, then season with salt.
    Note: Chef Boden recommends making peas in a pressure cooker. If you prefer not to use a pressure cooker, follow the same method, but adjust liquid and cooking time accordingly.

Turnips and Turnip Greens 

  1. Separate turnips and their greens, then wash and dry them well.
  2. In a cast iron pan set over medium heat, add bacon drippings or oil and quickly sauté turnips, then, at the last minute, add greens. Season with salt, pepper, and chili vinegar.

Chili Vinegar

  1. Combine vinegar and chilies in a mason jar and seal.
  2. Leave at room temperature for at least 1 week.

To Finish and Assemble Dish

  1. Cut lamb ribs into individual ribs and heat them in their cooking liquid.
  2. In bowls, divide peas and turnips—in that order. Top with warmed ribs and a drizzle of cooking liquid. Serve with chili vinegar on the side.
  • from Chef Ian Boden of The Shack Restaurant, Staunton, VA

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