Lamb Shoulder and Zucchini Fritters Recipe from Mimi's Bistro Chef

James Ansell layers in the flavors and techniques in this spring-inspired dish


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James Ansell, chef at Mimi’s Bistro in Grosse Pointe Park, wanted to create a unique recipe that included “the spring season, what I love to cook, and something from the restaurant. It starts with a slowly braised lamb shoulder … with a lighter, brighter flavor for spring.” The lamb is served on top of zucchini fritters, which are served at Mimi’s with tzatziki sauce. He tops the dish with a sweet onion salad tossed with chimichurri. “This represents where I am at as a chef,” he says, adding that he loves to spend time cooking at home. “I usually braise something for the family once a week or so.  I also like to layer flavors and techniques, and use salads as a palate cleanser/stimulators on savory dishes.” 


Lamb Shoulder with Zucchini Fritters (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients for the Lamb
3-4 pounds boneless leg of lamb
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil 
12 ounces white onion, diced
6 ounces fennel, diced 
2 ounces garlic, minced
4 cups white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
1 sprig thyme 
1 sprig rosemary 
Squeeze of fresh lemon

Directions:
Heat oven to 325 F. Pat lamb dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown lamb on all sides, 6-8 minutes; set aside. Add onion, fennel, and garlic to pot. Stir until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, 6-8 minutes. Add stock, spices, herbs, and lamb. Simmer, cover, and transfer to oven until fork-tender, about 2-2 ½ hours. Transfer lamb to a plate to rest. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and return to a saucepot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon.

Ingredients for Zucchini Fritters
1 cup zucchini, grated 
2 tablespoons red onion, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
2 eggs
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour
Extra-virgin olive oil 

Directions
Squeeze grated zucchini out in a towel to remove excess moisture. Combine all ingredients except for the flour and oil, coating everything well with the eggs. Gently fold in flour and mix until just combined. Portion into 1-ounce scoops into a pan with hot oil, and pan fry until golden brown.  

Serve lamb over zucchini fritters, then top with sweet onion salad tossed with chimichurri.

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