Cabernet-Braised Lamb Shoulder

American Lamb

Lamb stands up to chilly weather in this rich and hearty roast recipe. Chef Michael Scelfo gives the lamb shoulder an initial browning and then let it do its thing, getting cozy in the oven with vegetables, herbs and Cabernet until it’s aromatic and infused with flavor. The slow-cooked dish pairs especially well with—you guessed it—a bottle of red to fend off any winter blues.


Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons ground fennel seed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 5-pound boneless lamb shoulder roast, tied
  • 6 shallots
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 apples, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bottle Cabernet
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 8 rosemary sprigs, tied together with string
  • 6 fresh bay leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the fennel seed with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the lamb.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy casserole dish or Dutch oven. Add the lamb shoulder and brown it well over moderately high heat, about 20 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large plate. Wipe out the casserole dish.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of oil back into the casserole dish and brown the apples, garlic, shallots, carrot and celery.
  4. Return the lamb to the casserole dish. Add the wine, chicken stock, bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the casserole dish to the oven. Braise the lamb for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning the meat occasionally, until tender.
  5. Transfer the lamb to a large platter and cover with foil. Discard the vegetables, rosemary and bay leaves. Simmer the braising liquid until it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 50 minutes.
  6. To serve, remove the strings from the roast and slice. Transfer the slices to plates or a platter and spoon the sauce on top.

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