Long and Slow: Braised Lamb Shoulder

Sometimes the less expensive cuts of meat yield the best flavor –– you just need to understand how to cook them.


Lamb shoulder is on the bone, has a lot of meat along with some tasty fat and some tough sinewy bits. It’s good grilled, but the magic is all in braising.

Lamb ShoulderSearing first, and then, braising in liquid low and slow draws out the flavor and gives the fat and connective tissues a change to break down into a luscious and velvety gravy. The meat will literally fall apart and if you add chunky potatoes and carrots they will give your teeth something to bite into.

Lamb Shoulder

Lamb ShoulderThis dish is a winner folks. A perfect family meal, a fall and winter warmer or a dinner party main that will never fail. Get creative and serve atop creamy polenta for an out of this world one pot meal. Save the leftovers and add tinned San Marzano tomatoes for a ragu to mix with pasta or simply enjoy with some good crusty bread for mopping up all that delicious gravy!

Lamb ShoulderBraised Lamb Shoulder

2 onions, sliced in half and then into 1/4″ slices
extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed
Flour for dredging the lamb (about 1/2 cup, seasoned with salt and pepper)
4  lamb shoulder arm chops
1lb. meaty lamb bones
1 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons good Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
4 medium-sized potatoes cut into large chunks
2 carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 celery sticks, chopped
a few sprigs of rosemary
a few sprigs of thyme
a few leaves of sage

In a Dutch oven sauté the onions in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Remove the onions to a plate and if necessary, add more olive oil to the Dutch oven for frying the lamb.

Dredge the lamb in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper and brown in the Dutch oven 3-4 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your Dutch oven you may need to do this in batches. Remove to a plate.

If there is excess oil in the Dutch oven drain it before adding the potatoes, carrots and celery. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the lamb back to the Dutch oven.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard, red wine, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the lamb. Then layer on the caramelized onions.

Top with fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme and a few fresh sage leaves. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Once boiling, transfer to a 300F oven and slowly cook 2-3 hours.


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