Braised Lamb Crêpes, Asian Pears, and Hazelnut-Sage Glaze

Adapted by
December 2010
Yield: 15 Servings


Braised Lamb Necks
12 pounds fresh lamb necks
3 gallons lamb stock, or 1 pound lamb glace, diluted with 3 gallons water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sprigs sprigs sage
125 grams buckwheat flour
125 grams all-purpose flour
4 eggs
500 milliliters whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
50 grams warmed brown butter
Asian Pear
6 peeled Asian pears
1 liter water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
1 pinch unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 salt
Lamb Neck Meat
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Asian pears, peeled, cored, and small diced
To Assemble and Serve
whole Sage leaf, cut chiffonade
½ teaspoon butter
½ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted, then crushed


For the Braised Lamb Necks: 
Preheat oven to 350° F. Put a large rondeau, or braising pan large enough to fit all the necks over a medium-high heat. In a separate pot, heat the lamb stock. Season the lamb necks aggressively with salt and pepper. Using no oil, sear the lamb necks in the rondeau, starting with the fat-cap down. Brown the necks on all sides. When completely browned, remove the lamb necks from the rondeau onto a draining rack. Dispose of all excess fat. Return the rondeau to a medium heat. Sweat the carrots and onions in the rondeau for about 2 minutes. Add the lamb necks back to the rondeau, on top of the vegetables, arranging them snugly and with the fat-caps facing up. Pour the hot lamb stock into the rondeau, almost covering the necks so that only the fat-caps are exposed. Bring the liquid to a boil, skim the surface, cover with foil, and braise in the oven for 3 hours. Remove the braised necks from the oven, take off the foil, and swirl in the sprigs of sage. Let the braised necks cool for 1 hour in the braising liquid at room temperature. When cool enough to handle, remove 1 neck at a time with a slotted spoon to a hotel pan, cleaning each neck as it is deposited. Carefully pick apart the lamb neck meat, discarding all bone, cartilage, or sinew. Some fat is fine, as it keeps the meat moist. Reserve the lamb neck meat. Reserve the braising liquid for the glaze.

For the Crêpes:
Begin preparation of the crêpes as soon as the lamb necks go into the oven, as they will need to rest for at least 1 hour. Combine the flours together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the egg-milk mixture to the flour mixture in 3 stages. Combine well to form a batter and season with salt and pepper. Add the brown butter to the batter. Transfer the batter to a tall cylindrical container. Cover and let it rest until it reaches room temperature. To prepare the crêpes, put an 8-inch non-stick pan over low heat. Using a 2-ounce ladle, put 1½ ounces of the crêpe batter in the hot pan and swirl. Flip them and remove them from the pan when they turn golden.

For the Asian Pear:
Melon ball 4 Asian pears, reserving the scraps. Combine the balls, water, sugar, vinegar and a pinch of salt in a saucepot. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat, and remove the balls with a slotted spoon to a parchment lined tray. Set the balls aside for pickup. Add the reserved pear fruit to the same pot, taking care not to add any seeds, core fragments, or skins. Bring the fruit to a boil, reduce the heat by half, and cook down until all liquid is reduced and the pear fruit has become a mush. Purée the pear mush in a Vita-mix blender for 2 minutes until ultra-smooth. Pass the pear mush through a chinois to form a purée, and reserve the pear purée for the glaze.

For the Glaze:
Pass the lamb braising liquid through a chinois into a deep pot. Skim off the fat—thereill be a lot. Bring the liquid to a boil, skimming constantly, and reduce the heat. At this point, reserve 1 liter of the braising liquid in a separate pot. Continue to skim the remaining braising liquid frequently as the liquid cooks down until reduced by almost half. Pass the reduced braising liquid through a chinois into a smaller, clean pot and add the reserved pear purée. Bring the combined stock and purée to a boil, skim, reduce heat and make sure the bottom of the pot is clean, as purée tends to stick. Let the mixture reduce until a nice nappé is reached. Skim the mixture again and pass it through a chinois into a separate container. Swirl the sage into the glaze. Cover and reserve until pickup.

For the Lamb Neck Meat:    
In a large saucepot, heat the 1 liter of reserved braising liquid. Reduce the liquid by half. Add the cleaned lamb neck meat in stages to the liquid. Incorporate a little of the meat at a time, using a large, heavy spoon or fork to break up the meat and making sure that all the meat is equally distributed and moistened. Remove the saucepot from heat, and finish seasoning with the butter, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Fold in the diced Asian pears.

To Assemble and Serve:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lay 2 crêpes on a counter, and spoon about 3 ounces of the warm lamb mixture onto each crêpe. Roll each crepe like a burrito. Place the rolled crêpes on a sheet tray and reheat in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the glaze in a very small pot with 5 pear balls per order, and a pinch of sage chiffonade. Swirl in the whole butter. Remove the warmed crêpes from the oven and transfer to a wide serving bowl. Spoon out the pear balls from the glaze and garnish the crêpes. Coat the crêpes with the glaze. Garnish them with the hazelnuts.