Braised stuffed lamb shoulder

This is a truly luxurious way to prepare lamb. It is loosely based on a Julia Child recipe. Serve with buttered new potatoes and a cold asparagus salad.

1 boned and rolled lamb shoulder, 3-3.5 lbs
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, preferably shitake, chopped
1 c cooked and chopped spinach (frozen is OK)
1/3 c diced onion
1/4 c pine nuts
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 c dry bread crumbs
1 egg
fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 TB fresh
1 large onion halved then sliced
1 large carrot peeled and sliced
1 c dry vermouth
2 c (appx) beef or lamb stock
2 TB butter
3-4 TB goose or duck fat (preferred) or oil

Preheat oven to 325f.

Sauté the mushrooms in 1 TB butter until the liquid has all evaporated and they are starting to brown. Remove from pan. In the same pan sauté the diced onion in 1 TB butter until just starting to brown. Add the garlic and pine nuts and stir for a minute or two. Squeeze most of the liquid from the spinach and add to the pan (the spinach, not the liquid!). Return mushrooms to the pan and cook for a moment, stirring. Stir in bread crumbs and remove from heat. Taste carefully for seasoning and correct as needed. When cool stir in the egg.

Remove the netting from the lamb and spread out on a cutting board. Carefully trim excess fat and gristle, but do not remove the fat on the outer surface. Spread the stuffing over the inside of the lamb, making sure to push it down into any pockets. Scatter the rosemary over the stuffing and re-roll the lamb, tying it with several wraps of cotton kitchen string. Use wooden skewers if needed to secure the openings.

Heat half the goose fat in a enameled casserole that is just large enough to hold the lamb with an inch or two of space all around. (Le Creuset’s oval casserole is perfect for this). Add the sliced onion and carrot and saute for 5-10 minutes until starting to brown. Remove from pan. Add remaining fat to pan. Pat the lamb dry and put in fat, seam-down. Brown on all sides and the ends. When the lamb is browned reduce the heat, return the vegetables to the pan, and add the wine, thyme, and enough stock to come about 1/2 the way up the lamb. Cover the lamb with a piece of aluminum foil. Bring to a simmer, cover the casserole, and place in the oven. Cook for 1.5 hours, regulating heat so the liquid is slowly simmering. Remove from oven, turn lamb over, and return to oven for another hour.

Remove lamb to a plate and cover it with a foil tent to keep warm. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a saucepan, pressing the carrots and onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Skim off as much fat as possible and boil down rapidly until you have 1.5-2 cups and the sauce has a nice rich taste. Thicken with 1 TB cornstarch mixed in 2 TB wine. Correct seasoning.

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One Comment on “Braised stuffed lamb shoulder”

  1. […] On a frigid day a few months ago, I purchased a frozen shoulder of lamb from the Livengood Farm stall at my local farmers’ market. If they had had mutton (an older sheep), which they sometimes do, I would have bought it instead. It’s often cheaper! I mention all this because until I defrosted the lamb shoulder on Saturday I had no idea what kind of bones were in my roast. In addition to the blade bone, there were also ribs in this roast which is sort of unusual. (Here’s a great YouTube video about how to remove the blade bone from a shoulder of lamb.) After much deliberation about the ribs, and assistance from my spouse Joseph, I decided to stuff, tie, and roast the lamb shoulder with the bones in. This dish will be easier to prepare and serve if you, or your butcher, bone your lamb shoulder before you start. The modern recipes for stuffed lamb shoulder from Julia Child and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall that I consulted in search of cooking times, all suggest starting this way. Here are recipes from Hugh, lamb shoulder roasted whole and stuffed lamb shoulder, and Julia braised stuffed lamb shoulder. […]

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