Braised Lamb

  • Braised Lamb
  • 4-6 shoulder chops of lamb
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary (dried is fine too)
  • 1 cup dry red wine, I used Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300

Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat, adding olive oil and onions. The onions will immediately begin to brown and char on the high heat, so ensure proper movement to avoid burning. After about 1 minute, lower heat to medium and begin to remove onions, setting them aside.

Place lamb in the rendered oil from onions, 2 at a time, cooking in batches. Allow meat to get a nice brown color on each side by cooking for 3 minutes before flipping. You do not need to cook through at this point. Remove and set aside, until all chops have been browned. Once final cuts are removed, quickly add dry red wine, deglazing the fond from the bottom of Dutch oven. Allow to simmer for about 3 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally to lift up browned bits.

Roughly chop garlic in thick slices, tossing with onions.

Begin nestling lamb chops in the red wine, covering with rosemary springs, charred onions and garlic. Your liquid should be halfway up each chop, and meat will be completely covered with onions. Secure lid and place into 300 degree oven for 2-3 hours.

After 2 hours, remove lid and check for tenderness. If your meat is falling apart and off the bone, it is finished. If still tough, return to oven for additional time, up to one hour.

Once tender, remove half of the cooked onions and rosemary sprigs. Carefully remove lamb, discarding any bones that may dislodge, removing all bones prior to serving. Strain onions from remaining liquid, and if desired, return liquid to a small saucepan to reduce over medium-low. This will take about 20 minutes. Serve as jus, or, as another option, blend with remaining cooked onions for a thicker gravy. Pour over pulled lamb and serve immediately.

Cheap meat. We’ve all bought it. We’ve all cooked it completely wrong and thought “Welp, this is fun. I’m eating shoe leather. Who needs teeth?” But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Sure, I would love to pick up a frenched rack of lamb every week, but, I would not like to spend $38 for just one meal. Not even meal… just the meat! Uh uh. I have wine to buy with that money. So I have to be frugal.


I was delighted to find lamb shoulder chops in my local bj’s meat department, and even more excited when I saw the price! I could pick up 4 pounds for less than $13! I’m a lamb-a-holic too, so this was like winning the lottery. But, as I gleefully picked up the package, I began having flashbacks to the horrific lamb flavored rubber I had made about a year ago, from a bargain barrel meat sale.

BRAISING!! I was saved. My memories of jaw aches made way, as I daydreamed about the long, slow, flavor-packed bath these little choppies were gonna take, and my fear subsided. The extended cook time of braising could tenderize a diamond, I have no doubt.

I love the strong flavor of lamb, but because of this, your flavor additions must be able to stand up to it. This is why I chose red wine as my braising liquid. The more it reduces and cooks down, the more flavorful it becomes. The length of time it spends in the oven cooks all of the alcohol out, as well, so no worries about getting sloppy off of your dinner. Although, how fun would that be? 2 birds stoned at once, am I right?! Just kidding, mom!! Kinda…

I cannot think of any better friend for lamb than fresh rosemary, but if it’s not your bag, feel free to leave it out. Thyme would lend a great taste too, or even doubling up on the garlic to really build that profile. I had left some fresh rosemary to dry out on its stems, and it was the perfect accompaniment to this recipe. Once it’s finished, I can just grab the inedible stems and toss them, leaving all of that sprucey flavor behind.

I honestly don’t know which way I prefer to use the leftover braising liquid, either. Blending it into a thicker, onion-scented gravy is awesome sauce (literally) but I also love making a jus, by reducing it on low heat. So, basically, whichever option you choose, it’s great. There are no bad choices. Maybe flip a coin? And then pay no attention to where it lands, because as soon as it’s in the air, you know what you’re hoping for, so just go with that. I make a significant amount of life decisions with this tactic.

Once you’ve got your lamb, your sauce of choice and a side dish worthy of such a magical meal *cough OVEN ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS *cough cough* OR OVEN ROASTED CRISPY POTATOES *cough cough cough* then sit back, dig in and marvel at how you just completely transformed what could have been an inedible cut of meat! Brava!

braised lamb

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