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Pre-salting the lamb (the longer the better) will deepen its flavor and increase moisture and tenderness in the meat. Afterward, a simple sear then braise renders fork-tender shreds of meat. A spoonful of garlicky gremolata heightens those long-cooked flavors.

April 2020


Credit: Eva Kolenko

Recipe Summary test

50 mins
4 hrs 20 mins
6 to 8




Make the lamb
  • Sprinkle lamb evenly with 2 tablespoons salt and black pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, or chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours or overnight. (If lamb chills overnight, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.)

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third position. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add lamb, fat side down; cook, undisturbed, until deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Carefully turn lamb over; cook, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove lamb from Dutch oven. Discard drippings from Dutch oven. Wipe Dutch oven clean.

  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to Dutch oven; heat over medium. Add onion, shallots, carrot, celery, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring often, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine, orange juice, honey, vinegar, and orange peel strips. Nestle lamb, fat side up, on vegetable mixture; bring to a boil over medium. Remove from heat, and cover Dutch oven. Transfer to preheated oven, and roast until lamb is fork-tender, 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Make the gremolata
  • Stir together all gremolata ingredients in a bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

  • Remove lamb from Dutch oven, and transfer to a large serving platter. Tent lamb with aluminum foil; let rest 30 minutes before slicing or shredding meat. Serve with gremolata.

Suggested Pairing

Earthy, emphatic Pinot Noir.