By Kristin Donnelly
Updated May 23, 2017

In this succulent recipe, lamb shoulder is braised in Syrah with kalamata
olives and dried sour cherries that have been soaked in red wine. The unusual
combination makes the sauce deliciously sweet and savory. © Tina Rupp

F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

Lamb shanks find themselves all over restaurant menus this time of year. Cooked low and slow, the luscious meat pulls effortlessly from the bone. When I’m craving something meaty and warming, I’ve recently turned to lamb shoulder chops, because they’re often even less expensive than shanks. Good butcher shops almost always have lamb shoulder and I’ve started to see it around supermarkets as well. The entire thing can be cooked whole—like in this Syrah-Braised Lamb Shoulder—but 1-inch thick chops will braise in a fraction of the time and they can even be grilled if you don’t mind a little bit of chew. When you can, buy the chops with the round bones in the center. They’re occasionally more expensive but they come with a little bonus: luscious marrow to flavor your sauce or spread on toast.