Crispy Lamb Ribs with Harissa Yogurt and Mint Salsa Verde


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Harissa Lamb Ribs

An incredibly flavorful yet underutilized cut, lamb ribs take some time and patience to cook, but result in a craveworthy contrast of flavor and textures. We start by braising the ribs until they’re very tender, then quickly finish them under the broiler to add a crisp, caramelized crust. The ribs are phenomenal by themselves, but our favorite way to serve them is with harissa yogurt—a simple blend of fiery Middle Eastern chile paste and tangy Greek yogurt—and a garlicky, mint-flecked salsa verde.

Crispy Lamb Ribs with Harissa Yogurt and Mint Salsa Verde
Makes four servings

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
5 pounds lamb ribs, excess fat trimmed
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped onion
1 cup roughly chopped carrot
1 cup roughly chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, halved
One 750-milliliter bottle dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 rosemary sprigs
12 Castelvetrano olives
Mint leaves, for garnish
Harissa Yogurt 
Mint Salsa Verde

  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F. In a large, heavy Dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the lamb ribs with salt and pepper and, working in batches, brown the ribs.
  2. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of fat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock, oregano and rosemary, turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the lamb ribs and the olives, making sure they’re fully submerged in the braising liquid (add water or more wine if they’re not). Cover, return the liquid to a boil and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the ribs, covered, until they’re tender and cooked through, about 3 hours. (After 2 hours, be sure to check that the level of liquid is still above the ribs and add water or wine as needed.)
  4. Remove the pot from the oven and let the ribs rest in the braising liquid for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the ribs and olives from the liquid, pat them dry with a towel and place them on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler to high. Brush the ribs and olives with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Broil the ribs and olives until the ribs are browned and crispy on top, about 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a large serving board or platter and garnish with mint leaves and salsa verde. Serve the lamb ribs with the harissa yogurt.

Harissa Yogurt
Makes 1 cup

1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon harissa
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small serving bowl, stir together the yogurt, harissa, garlic and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mint Salsa Verde
Makes 1 cup

½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped chives
½ cup finely chopped mint
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
Zest, finely grated, and juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup olive oil
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small serving bowl, combine the herbs, garlic and capers. Add the lemon zest and juice and olive oil, and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The salsa verde will keep for up to 12 hours, covered, in the refrigerator.