Classic Spring Lamb
One of my favorite rites of spring is the first lamb dinner of the season. Lamb shoulder is best in a slow braise, melting the fat and connective tissue. To ensure the lamb stays moist while braising, have the butcher roll and tie the roast for you, running a small thin piece of lamb fat down one side. This is a delicious, fool proof recipe that will make for a stunning centerpiece for your Easter feast.
Wine-Braised Lamb Shoulder
- 1 boneless, trimmed shoulder of baby lamb, weighing approximately 2 1/2 pounds
- 3 cups red wine
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups pearl onions, peeled
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 pieces allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 pound mushrooms, halved
- 1/2 pound sliced carrots
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Place the oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat.
Season the lamb shoulder with sea salt and pepper. When the oil is fragrant and rippling, brown it on all sides in the Dutch oven. Once the lamb is nicely browned, remove and reserve.
Add the vegetables, spices and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes to caramelize the mushrooms and onions.
Return the lamb to the pot, add the water and wine. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower heat to retain a slow simmer. Cook on the stove top for 90 minutes, covered, turning the lamb every 30 minutes.
Remove lamb and vegetables to a platter, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce your sauce over medium heat, uncovered in the Dutch oven, until it has some body and is able to coat the back of a spoon.
Slice the lamb and drizzle with the sauce. Season and serve.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.