I know we’ve talked about this before…I am a dyed-in-the-wool lamb lover. It’s special and it’s delicious. Lamb tends to be a bit more expensive than beef or pork, but shoulder chops are an economical option. They can be fried quickly, but braising them really develops some lovely flavors. These flavors are decidedly Mediterranean. The addition of both cinnamon and allspice gives us a bit of a peregrination into the Middle East.
I choose bone-in chops, because the sauce will have more flavor and the bones are easily removed, when the meat is properly and fully cooked. Browning the meat adds both flavor and color to the sauce, but it isn’t absolutely essential. I prefer to use fresh herbs, but you may use dry, just remember to use one-third as much. When the meat is not quite falling-off-the-bone, I add the carrots…you know, just lay the pieces of carrot on top of the meat. They will more or less steam done. I don’t usually use parsley, but I listed it, as many people like it. This time I didn’t drizzle pomegranate molasses over the lamb, primarily because it slipped my mind. But, it is a delicious addition.
This is excellent served with rice or pasta, but I like it best served with Greek-Style Roasted Potatoes, and a green salad. Good bread, wouldn’t hurt, either.
Mediterranean Braised Lamb
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds lamb shoulder chops (I like bone-in)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 4-5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, pulled from the stems
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano or marjoram leaves
- 1-2 cups dry red wine
- Water or chicken broth as needed
- 3-4 carrots, cut into 1-2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Drizzle of pomegranate molasses, for service (optional)
In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Season the lamb on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb chops on both sides, about 2-3 minutes. Remove; set aside. There should be at least one tablespoon of fat in the skillet; if not, add a bit more. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms; sauté until slightly tender and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and allspice, along with the tomato paste (I prefer ketchup); stir to combine.
Return the chops, with any accumulated juices to the skillet. Sprinkle the fresh herbs evenly over the meat. Pour the red wine into the skillet. Simmer for a couple of minutes, to reduce slightly. Cover the pan, lower the heat to low, and let the liquid very gently simmer for about 1 hour, until the meat is very tender, almost falling apart. Check periodically to make sure it doesn’t boil dry, adding broth or water, as needed. Pull the bones out of the chops, if there are bones; discard the bones. Add the carrot pieces on top of the meat; continue to cook until the carrot are just tender and the meat is done. To serve, sprinkle with the parsley, or with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, if desired.
Mediterranean Braised Lamb Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019. All rights reserved.
I have added eggplant pieces, right after I sauté the onions. Plunk the browned chops on top and continue on the recipe journey. Zucchini or steamed green beans are nice, as a side dish.