Confit Lamb Shoulder with Polenta and Brussels Sprouts


Braising lamb shoulder in garlic-infused oil yields a super-tender, falling-off-the-bone bite of meat. Drizzle leftover braising oil on each plate for a delicious garnish. If the polenta begins to clump as it sits, simply vigorously whisk it back to a smooth and creamy texture.

Confit Lamb Recipe
Photo: Cedric Angeles
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 40 mins



  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 1 (5-pound) bone-in lamb shoulder, trimmed

  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 rosemary sprigs

  • 2 whole star anise

  • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise


  • 4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup uncooked polenta

  • 3 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1 packed cup)

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2 ounces)


  • 1 pound fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Make the lamb

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large Dutch oven over high. Sprinkle lamb evenly on all sides with salt. Place lamb, fat side down, in hot oil; cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Turn lamb fat side up; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add rosemary, star anise, and garlic to Dutch oven. Cover tightly, and transfer to preheated oven. Cook until lamb is falling off the bone, 3 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours. Remove from oven; tent with aluminum foil, and let lamb stand 15 minutes. Tear lamb meat into chunks or shreds, and discard bone. Cover to keep warm, and set aside.

During final hour of lamb cooking, make the polenta

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Stir in piment d’Espelette and salt; remove from heat. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly. Cover and let stand 45 minutes. Add cheese and butter, whisking vigorously to break up any lumps. Keep warm.

Make the brussels sprouts

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add sprouts to boiling water; cook, stirring once, until bright green and just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sprouts to ice bath; stir to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sprouts; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

  2. To serve, reheat polenta over low, stirring often, until warmed through. Spoon polenta into 4 bowls; top with brussels sprouts and lamb.

Suggested Pairing

Herbal, full-bodied Loire red.

Related Articles