Sunday Supper & More

Braised lamb shoulder

(Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
January 26, 2011

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Serves 4 with leftovers

Shoulder needs a long simmer with lots of vegetables and aromatics. If the meat comes wrapped in netting or tied with string, snip it off, remove the excess fat, and cut the meat where it falls apart into two or three large pieces. You may need to order a shoulder in advance, or use the more luxurious leg for this dish.

1 boneless lamb shoulder (4 to 4 1/2 pounds), netting or strings removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Cut the meat into 2 or 3 large pieces. Remove the excess fat. Sprinkle the meat all over with salt and pepper.

2. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb without moving for 5 minutes. Turn and brown the other side for 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a bowl. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

3. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.

4. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the water, stir well, and return the meat and the juices in the bowl to the pan. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook the meat, turning halfway through cooking, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork.

5. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a platter. Meanwhile, bring the sauce in the pan to a boil. With a large metal spoon, skim the fat from the surface. Continue skimming until all the fat is removed. (At this point, you can let everything cool and refrigerate the meat and vegetables in one container, the sauce in another; skim the fat when they are cold, then reheat together.)

6. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of sauce and 2 cups meat and vegetables for the pasta.

7. Cut the meat into large pieces. Arrange them on each of 4 plates with onions and carrots. Spoon the sauce on top and garnish with oregano.

Lisa Zwirn