Merlot-Braised Lamb Shoulder with Lemon Gremolata
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HR 15 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
David Page and Barbara Shinn cook lamb shoulder in their own plummy Shinn Estate Merlot until it's meltingly tender, then garnish it with a lemon gremolata. Says Page, "It's best to cook with what's right in front of you, and on Long Island, you don't have to reach very far for Merlot."
- One 3-pound boneless lamb shoulder roast, tied
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, plus 1 minced garlic clove
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup pearl onions, peeled
- 2 cups Merlot or other dry red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- One 3-inch rosemary sprig plus 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- Two 1-inch-wide strips of lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges attached at the core
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Using a sharp knife, make deep slits all over the lamb and fill each slit with a garlic slice. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the lamb and cook over moderate heat, turning, until the roast is browned and crusty, about 12 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a plate and pour off the fat in the casserole.
- Add the pearl onions and cook over low heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole. Add the stock, tomatoes, rosemary sprig and lemon zest strips and bring to a boil. Return the lamb and any accumulated juices to the casserole and cover.
- Transfer the covered casserole to the oven and braise the lamb for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is nearly tender. Add the carrots and fennel wedges, cover and braise for about 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and lamb are tender.
- Transfer the lamb and vegetables to a platter and cover with foil. Discard the rosemary sprigs and lemon zest. Boil the braising liquid over high heat until it is reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the parsley with the crushed red pepper flakes, chopped rosemary, minced lemon zest and the minced garlic.
- Discard the strings from the lamb and slice the meat. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the parsley-lemon gremolata. Serve with the sauce and vegetables.
Page doesn't have to reach far for a glass of Shinn Estate Vineyard Merlot to drink with the dish. Another good choice is the spicy McManis Family Vineyards Merlot.