March has always been the home stretch of winter as we anticipate spring and the early spring vegetables and proteins that come with it. This year we have had the good fortune of a mild winter, but I feel a loss of the nostalgia that comes with the traditional cooking style of foods that come with this season. I don’t believe winter is over, therefore I have decided to share my recipe for Braised Lamb Shoulder, a favorite of mine. Braising is a cooking method of searing a piece of meat, slow cooking it in a broth and basting along the way until the meat falls from the bone.
Braised Lamb Shoulder
Yields: 6 servings
• 4 ½ lb. Lamb shoulder roast, bone-in
• 2 tbsp. Canola oil
• 2 Carrots, roughly chopped
• 2 Ribs of celery, roughly chopped
• 1 Medium onion, roughly chopped
• 1 Bulb of garlic, broken into cloves and crushed
• 3 Sprigs of fresh thyme
• 1 tsp. Whole black peppercorns
• 2 cups Whole, peeled canned tomatoes, drained
• 1 cup Full-bodied red wine
• 1 ½ to 2 qts. Chicken stock
• 2 tbsp. Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 2 tsp. Fresh mint leaves, chopped
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, season with coarse salt and ground pepper.
- In a roasting pan with a lid that the lamb will fit in closely, heat the canola oil over medium to high heat. Add the lamb and sear on all sides until brown. Remove from pan and reserve.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, and peppercorns to the pan and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes or until they begin to brown.
- Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for about 4 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and cook until the wine nearly evaporates.
- Return the lamb to the pan and add enough chicken stock to come about a third of the way up the meat. Bring the liquid to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat, cover and place it in the oven. Braise for 3 ½ to 4 hours, until the lamb is fork-tender. Baste occasionally and be sure the liquid is barely simmering.
- Remove the lamb from the roasting pan and remove the shoulder blade bone, cover with foil, set aside to keep warm.
- Strain the braising liquid through a sieve into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, skimming the fat off the top periodically. Reduce to about 2 cups and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the lamb into thick pieces. The meat will be so tender it will almost fall apart. Arrange it on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over it. Sprinkle with the parsley and mint, and serve.
Note: Serving with root vegetables, buttered pappardelle, Swiss chard, or kale all work well with this recipe.
This is a great dish for this time of the year, simple to make, and since lamb shoulder is relatively inexpensive, it is a very affordable. Good luck and happy eating!