Beyond the Shoulders

Looking to lamb neck for inspiration

So much for racks and legs: Local chefs are looking elsewhere on a sheep for meat, and neck is the flavor-packed off-cut of the moment.

On a life-changing trip to New Zealand, The Gorbals chef Lizi Freeman witnessed a hillside packed with so many sheep it looked like snow. At Ilan Hall's tucked-away restaurant, Freeman braises lamb neck ($19) in pork stock for 12 hours, then serves the rich results on top of oats cooked in white wine and cream.

Iran native Hamid Mosavi features myriad neck dishes every Monday and Friday at Westwood's Shamshiri Grill. We prefer the sweet and savory adas polo ($13) with basmati rice, green lentils, raisins, dates and currants served alongside braised neck. For added punch, request the spicy red "salsa" made of mesquite-roasted peppers and chilies.

Animal is famously open to offal. Chef de cuisine Mike Magliano braises pasture-raised Sonoma lamb neck ($13) before pulling and pressing it into a terrine mold. Sliced rectangles are pan-fried and plated with nettles, fava beans, daikon and a tangy black-vinegar jus. Airy mustard-and-tapioca crackers complete the spring charcuterie.

Need more neck? The cut has made appearances on the rotating menus at The Tasting Kitchen and Lazy Ox Canteen.