December 14, 2020

Braised American Lamb Shoulder with Pumpkin Smoked Gouda Grits


Prep Time

25 MIN

Cook Time

1HR, 15Min

Total Time

1HR, 40Min



braised lamb shoulder plated with pumpkin gouda grits and green beans


  • 1 3-pound bone-in American Lamb shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
    6 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
    1 tablespoon brown gravy powder
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups grits or polenta
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces grated smoked gouda cheese

To serve:

  • Sage leaves crisped up in olive oil, steamed vegetables


Season lamb shoulder with Cajun seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set Instant Pot to sauté, add olive oil and sear lamb shoulder for 5 minutes per side or until golden. Remove and place on a plate until ready to braise.

Add onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf  to the Instant Pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Deglaze by adding the vegetable broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the inner pot with a wooden spoon until nothing is sticking. Add white miso paste and gravy powder, followed by the lamb shoulder.

Place lid on and set Instant Pot to Manual Pressure for 50 minutes. After cooking, allow pressure to release naturally (10 minutes), remove the shoulder bone and set to sauté to reduce liquid until desired consistency. The meat should be fall-apart tender and the garlic and onions completely reduced to form the gravy. Remove bay leaf, season to taste and serve with smoked pumpkin gouda grits.

* Note: The USDA recommends that lamb reach an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F with a 3-minute rest.

Tip: To thicken the gravy, add a slurry with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water then stir gently until thickened.

For the grits: Add vegetable broth or water and butter to a large pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, add grits then stir and cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Add pumpkin puree, cream and grated smoked gouda cheese. Stir and simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes and season to taste. Serve immediately with crispy sage, braised American lamb and vegetables of your choice.

Some handy tips:

We used American lamb shoulder in this recipe because it is great value for money. Other cuts that would work wonderfully are: Stew meat, bone-in or boneless leg.

You can absolutely cook this recipe on the stovetop in a Dutch oven. Just place the lid on after adding the lamb shoulder and braise over medium heat for 2 1/2 hours. Be sure to check it and add more liquid as necessary, since a lot of moisture will evaporate using this method.

While canned pumpkin puree is great, homemade pumpkin or squash puree will give the grits a fresher flavor. To roast your own pumpkin, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Half a small pie pumpkin and remove seeds, then drizzle with olive oil and place on a baking sheet cut side down. Roast for 40 minutes and remove from the oven. Carefully peel off the skin while warm and use an immersion blender to make a puree. Use one cup in the recipe and store the remaining pumpkin in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. It’s handy to use in soups, pies or other desserts.

White miso paste is not mandatory here, but it’s a secret weapon when it comes to umami flavor! It seems unconventional but it will provide some wonderful depth. Find it at your local grocery store!

recipe ingredients
raw American lamb shoulder


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