How to cook lamb neck

How to cook lamb neck

An under-utilised cut of lamb, lamb neck is also relatively cheap so it’s a good option for lamb-lovers on a budget. It is most commonly sold off the bone in small fillets, or sometimes diced as ‘braising lamb.’ You can also get bone-in lamb neck steaks, which are ideal for long, slow stews or curries.

What to look for when buying lamb neck

Lamb neck fillets are usually now available in larger supermarkets, but you’ll likely need a trip to the butchers if you want something on the bone. Lamb neck does contain a little sinew and silver skin, which can easily be trimmed away (or ask your butcher) and is nicely marbled with a little fat too. The meat should be a deep red, not slimy or greying. As well as being better for the animal, grass-fed lamb will produce tastier meat. One fillet generally weighs around 450g–600g so feeds 2–3 people well.

Lamb neck is a muscle, meaning it can be tough if not treated properly. The safest way to get it right is probably a low and slow cook. As the cut is relatively small (compared to say, the shoulder,) a good ninety-minute to two-hour braise will leave you with tender, meat that falls apart. The strong, slightly gamey flavour of lamb means it stands up well to bold flavours, so it's ideal for a heavily spiced curry or tagine.

Lamb neck recipe collection

How to pan-fry lamb neck

If you fancy something quicker, you can pan-fry lamb neck and serve as you would a steak– though it must be served rare/medium-rare  Again, a punchy spice rub or marinade works really well; most classically rosemary and garlic. Follow the simple recipe below for a quick pan-fried lamb neck, suitable for salads, sandwiches or with a selection of tasty vegetables.

Ingredients

1

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4

2

Season the lamb heavily with salt and pepper and place a large frying pan over a high heat. Once smoking hot, add the lamb fillet and cook all over until nicely browned on every side

3

Add the butter, garlic and rosemary and allow the butter to melt and foam up. Use a spoon to baste the meat in the flavoured butter, then transfer to the oven and cook for 5 minutes

4

Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before carving – make sure you pour the resting juices back over the meat before serving

Hotpot heaven

Lamb neck is a popular choice for one particularly iconic Northern dish – the Lancashire hotpot. Diced and slowly braised in a gravy, the tender meat is topped with finely sliced potatoes which melt into the gravy, thickening the sauce, as well as crisping up to provide a gorgeous golden topping. Below are two versions of the dish; a classic by Nigel Haworth, and something much more experimental from Phil Fanning.

Quick lamb neck

Lamb neck braises

An ideal cut for braising, lamb neck is often found in hearty British stews alongside robust root vegetables, with a velvety pile of mashed potato not too far away. William Drabble's hearty stew below is a prime example of this, as is Richard Corrigan’s traditional Scotch broth.

Around the world with lamb neck

Ambitious lamb neck