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April 6, 2023

Cabernet-Braised American Lamb Shoulder with Rosemary and Bay Leaves




Marinated American lamb chops with rosemary & garlic on a plate


  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons, divided extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 pounds boneless American Lamb shoulder roast, untied
  • 6 medium shallots, rough chop
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 sweet, crisp apples (like gala), cored, rough chop
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, rough chop
  • 2 medium celery stalks, rough chop
  • 1 750 ml bottle cabernet sauvignon
  • 4 cups chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 fresh rosemary sprigs, tied together with butcher’s twine
  • 6 fresh bay leaves


In a spice grinder or coffee mill, process fennel seeds until fine.  In a small bowl, add ground fennel, salt and pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil; stir to combine.  Evenly rub lamb with fennel-oil mixture; roll lamb, tie and set aside. 

In a large heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.  Add roast; cook until browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer roast to a large plate.  Wipe out pot; add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add shallots, garlic, apples, carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and mixture begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Return lamb to pot; add wine, broth, rosemary and bay leaves.  Increase heat to high; bring liquid to a boil.  Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Braise at 350ºF until a fork easily slides into the center and meat pulls apart with a fork, 3 to 3-1/2 hours, turning roast every 45 minutes.  

Remove pot from oven; transfer lamb to a large platter, cover and set aside.  Strain broth in the pot through a fine-mesh sieve.  Discard vegetables and herbs.  Wipe out pot; pour strained broth back in.  Bring broth to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 1 hour.  Pour sauce into a fat separator; set aside to settle. 

Remove twine from roast and discard; pull the lamb.  Remove fat from sauce; pour sauce into serving dish and top with roast.  Drizzle some sauce over the lamb, serving the rest on the side.


Chef suggestion:  Serve with parsley gnocchi and a poached egg.


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