Lamb Braised with Olives and Lemon




2 tablespoons                           extra-virgin olive oil

Three                                       Thick (1 inch), bone-in, lamb shoulders

                                                Sea Salt

                                                Fresh Ground Pepper

Pinch                                        Red Pepper Flakes

Pinch                                        Cinnamon

1 bulb                                       Garlic, shelled and smashed

¼ Cup                                      Finely chopped broad-leaf parsley

1 ½ teaspoon                           Grated zest of fresh lemon

½ teaspoon                              Lemon Juice


3 cloves                                    Garlic

15                                            Kalamata Olives, drained

¼ teaspoon                              Red Pepper Flakes

1 cup                                        Dry White Wine (Spanish Xarel-lo)

1 cup                                        Chicken Stock




1.         Combine salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon into a small bowl.


2.         Place lamb shoulder on a cutting board and sprinkle on the spice mixture; rub the mixture onto the meat with hands.  Let stand at room temperature for one hour.


3.         In a mortar and pestle combine the garlic, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt.  Grind this mixture until a smooth paste is formed—set aside.




Preheat oven to 300 degrees


1.         To a 5 quart porcelain coated Dutch oven, add the olive oil and let come to heat over a medium-low flame until the oil shimmers and an evanescent oil scent is detected.  To this Dutch oven, add the lamb shoulder.  Sautee until the shoulder is nicely browned, about 8 minutes, flip the lamb shoulders and brown the other side, about 8 minutes.  Remove the lamb to a plate while reserving the oil in the Dutch Oven .


2.         Once the lamb is cool, spread the garlic-herb paste onto the meat—apply some pressure to work the paste into the meat, but be careful not to tear the lamb apart.  Reserve.


3.         To the Dutch oven, add the 3 whole cloves of garlic, Kalamata olives, and red pepper flakes.  Sautee over medium low heat until garlic begins to brown, about 5 minutes.  Return the lamb to the Dutch oven; immediately after adding the lamb pour the wine into the pan, being careful not to disturb the garlic paste.


4.         Reduce the wine until it is about a quarter of its original volume, about 8 minutes, then add the stock.  Reduce the stock until it is about a third of its original volume, about 5 minutes.


5.         Cover the Dutch oven and place into the preheated oven.  Check the pan after 15 minutes to make sure the braising liquid is simmering gently, adjust the temperature down 10 to 15 degrees if the simmer is too vigorous.  The lamb will braise for 1 ½ hours in total; carefully flip the lamb pieces halfway through this time.


6.         After 1 ½ hours, remove the lamb and olives to a plate and tent with aluminum foil.  Over medium heat, reduce the braising liquid to approximately a 1/3 of a cup, this will become the sauce for the presentation.




A classical side to accompany the braised lamb would be polenta or risotto; however, I like to plate the meat over a less traditional roasted garlic mashed potatoes (pg. ).  Finished with a simple arugula salad and Lemon-Balsamic vinaigrette (pg. ) this makes for a very satisfying, yet refined meal.