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Braised Leg of Lamb with Stewed Apples and Polenta

Braised Leg of Lamb with Stewed Apples and Polenta

As soon as September 1st hits, I switch immediately into fall mode. Sweaters are taken out of drawers, gourds stake out a place on my dining room table, and, suddenly, all the meat I cook comes out braised.

There are few things as indulgent, pleasing, and comforting as meat that's been left to cook over low heat for multiple hours until it reduces into glorious, shredded, tender goodness, and this recipe is no exception. The classic autumnal fruit, apples, are employed here in a quasi-savory context, accompanying the lamb as a chunky sauce of sorts. Hard cider, meanwhile, is used as a braising liquid to impart the lamb with that extra apple-y flavor. All in all, it's warming, satisfying, and should take you through the rest of fall and winter.

Click here to see the 8 Ways to Use Apple Other Than Pie story.

Ingredients

For the lamb:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • One 1 ½-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb, skin membrane removed
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 2½ cups hard cider
  • 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ lemon, quartered
  • 1 McIntosh or Granny Smith apple, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 whole cloves

For the stewed apples:

  • 3 McIntosh or Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into small ¾-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces hard cider
  • 3 ounces chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the polenta:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

For the lamb:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the canola oil in a large pot over high heat. Sprinkle all over very generously with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cumin. When the pan is hot, add the lamb and sear on all sides for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the lamb has developed a thin golden-brown crust. Remove the pot from heat.

To the pot, add the hard cider. Add 2-3 cups of chicken broth, or until ¾ of the lamb leg is submerged in liquid. Add the lemon, chopped apple, onion, smashed garlic, fresh rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves.

Place the pot back on the stove. Over medium-high heat, cook briefly until the liquid reaches a boil. Taste the braising liquid and salt as necessary. Cover the pot with a lid, and place it in the oven. The lamb will braise for approximately 2 ½ hours until it is fork-tender and easily shredded. Turn the lamb over in the liquid every half hour or so.

For the stewed apples:

Meanwhile, cook the apples in a skillet over medium heat, and add the hard cider and chicken broth. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and cumin. Squeeze the lemon half over the apples. Continue to cook the apples over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 40 minutes, roughly mash with the back of a wooden spoon or a fork. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary.

For the polenta:

Next, in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until they start to soften and turn translucent; add the fresh thyme and sauté for an additional minute until fragrant. Add the chicken broth to the pan. Once the broth is hot, slowly stir in the polenta. Stir frequently for approximately 40 minutes or until the polenta has absorbed most of the liquid, and the overall consistency is thick, creamy, and resembles porridge. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Once the lamb has finished braising, remove from the pot and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, serve the polenta, alotting roughly ½ cup to each plate and spreading it into a thin layer. Roughly chop or shred the lamb and divide evenly among the plates, placing it on top of the polenta. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the polenta and top the lamb with the stewed apples. Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig.


Braised Leg of Lamb with Stewed Apples and Polenta - Recipes

Chef Norbert Niederkofler of St. Hubertus in Badia, Italy, braises his leg of lamb for hours and finishes it over a grill. To simplify the process, we put our braised leg under the broiler. The accompanying polenta is flavored with Graukäse, a pungent local cheese. Substitute other strong-flavored Alpine cheeses like raclette or Gruyère in its place.

For the Lamb Stock

Ingredients:

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 ⁄ 2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. whole juniper berries

For the Braise and Polenta

2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 ⁄ 2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 cups coarse-ground polenta

1 cup (4 oz.) grated Graukäse, raclette, or Gruyère cheese

Instructions:

Make the lamb stock: Heat the oven to 350°. Place the lamb bones on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the bones to a large saucepan along with half each of the celery, carrots, and onion the juniper berries bay leaves and 12 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until the bones have released their flavor, about 3 hours. Pour the lamb stock through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard the solids.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. In a roasting pan over two burners, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper, add to the pan, and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 16 to 18 minutes.

Transfer the lamb to a platter and add the remaining celery, carrots, and onion to the pan along with the rosemary and thyme. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until browned and soft, about 6 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan along with the lamb stock and bring to a boil. Cover the roasting pan with foil and place the lamb in the oven. Braise the lamb until very tender, about 3 hours.

In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. While whisking, slowly pour the polenta and the 2 tablespoons salt into the water and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring steadily, until the polenta is tender and smooth, about 1 hour. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Season with pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and pour the pan juices through a fine sieve into a bowl. Skim and discard the fat and pour the juices into a small saucepan. Bring the juices to a boil and cook until the sauce reduces to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Heat the broiler. Transfer the lamb to a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning, until browned and crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large dish and serve with the polenta and sauce.


Braised Leg of Lamb with Stewed Apples and Polenta - Recipes

Braised Leg of Lamb

Preheat broiler. Trim lamb of any excessive deposits of fat, leaving a thin layer behind. Place in a roasting pan and broil, turning occasionally, until fat crackles and begins to brown on all sides. Remove lamb to a rimmed baking sheet. Mix together minced rosemary and crushed garlic, and spread evenly over roast sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 275°F.

Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the baking pan, taking care not to discard browned bits or meaty juices. Place roasting pan over medium-high heat and deglaze with a bit of white wine, scraping up any browned bits add remaining wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until reduced by half. Add beef stock and whisk in tomato paste. Crush tomatoes by hand, discarding any skin and tough cores, and add to pan along with any tomato juice. Add bay leaves, rosemary, and garlic and bring to a simmer. Return lamb to pan and distribute onions, carrots, and potatoes around it. Cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil, transfer to the oven and roast, turning occasionally, until meat is very tender and falling apart, 5 to 6 hours.

Using a large spatula or slotted spoon, transfer lamb and vegetables to a serving platter tent with foil.

Transfer pan juices to a gravy separator and allow to settle pour juices into a large heavy saucepan, leaving as much fat behind as possible. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer taste and adjust seasonings. If desired, thicken with a little cornstarch or arrowroot slurry. Transfer to a gravy boat and serve with lamb and vegetables.


Leave a Review

This turned out fantastic. We salted the leg about 8 hours in advance. We also had a boneless leg instead of a bone-in leg, which meant it cooked much faster than indicated. After 60 minutes, the temperature was at 125. We gave it another 30 minutes, which turned out to be much longer than needed since the internal temp. was far beyond medium-rare. Still, because of the cooking method, the meat remained moist and delicious. I would absolutely do it again, while keeping an even closer eye on the meat's temperature.

Very confused by all the reviews. Instead of using a roasting pan, I used my dutch oven. I don't see how a leg is that much different from a shank, different part of the leg. I am really not sure how you can go wrong braising something in a whole bottle of wine and three plus bulbs of garlic. The meat was fall off the bone tender and moist. The gravy was delicious. I do admit that I made the gravy a bit different from the instructions.

This is by far of of the easiest and best dishes I have ever made. However I really don't bother with the heads of garlic after a few tries as I have found the best way to cook this is in a braising pan that the lamb just barely fits in. That way the wine keeps the lamb moister than if you used a larger pan with the garlic heads. Rosemary and the barest touch of mint and a little celery salt make this truly a great one.

This was a great recipe. I love lamb and I think this will be my preferred way of preparing lamb in the future. The garlic was just right and I didn't need to add any more liquid. It was perfect without any changes to the recipe.

Outstanding flavors. Especially good for those guests that do not like lamb or meat that is served rare to medium rare. We served this with the white bean and spinach recipe in the same issue. My guests can't wait to return for the same meal again.

This recipe was a disaster. I made it for a dinner party and was embarrassed to serve it. There is something wrong with the recipe. The lamb was totally dry and tasteless, though the wine sauce around it was delicious when reduced. I make braised lamb shanks all the time and they are simple and delicious. I don't believe that you can give the same treatment to a leg because legs are too lean. Also, when I braise shanks, the oven temperature is 275F, not 350. I'll stick to my normal way of cooking a boneless leg of lamb roast, which is to unroll it, stuff it with chopped garlic and rosemary, lemon slices, salt and pepper, roll it back up again, and then roast it at high heat until rare in the middle. That is easy and delicious.

This was quite easy to make, but I think there may be a typo in either the time or the temperature. We cooked for 1 hour 45 minutes and it was cooked through. I actually like it wuite a bit rare-er than it was. Next time I think we will reduce the temperature dramatically and try it for a longer cooking time. Overall though a really easy no fuss preperation with wonderful results.

This is the best lamb ever! It was so very succulent. very juicy and oh so tender. I have found my favourite recipe for leg of lamb!

At my suggestion, my British neighbor made this for our Easter dinner. This American and the rest of the Brits and Scots loved it! Wonderful balance of fresh, bright wine taste and rich, mellow garlic flavor. Because my friend knows that oven temps vary widely (and wildly), he paid careful attention to the meat, not the time. (The leg was well-trimmed.) It was succulent - fully-cooked but not overdone. Served with oven-roasted potatoes and steamed curly kale. Would definitely eat it/make it again - I much prefer it to lamb cooked with red wine.

This recipe may appeal to those who like their lamb "well-done," but it is a waste of tender, and yes, expensive, leg meat, to those among us who like it rare. The last time I got a leg of lamb from the butcher it set me back $64, and for that, I want intensely flavored, rare meat that melts in the mouth, not some over-cooked, cafeteria-style braised mystery meat. The recipe works well with lamb shanks, though, which are meant to be cooked into submission.

I made this recipe for a friend's family this past Easter. We used a 10 pound leg of spring lamb and increased the garlic and wine. A key to this recipe is to really trim all of the fat from the leg. We then covered the meat with a very light coating of olive oil, lots of minced garlic and srinkled with oregano, placed the lamb in a covered pan and put it in the refrigerator for the night. The next day we removed from the fridge, seasoned with salt and pepper and placed uncovered in the hot oven for 30 minutes. We then lowered the temperature and covered the lamb in the oven. We were surprised to find that it was done an hour earlier than we planned according to the recipe. This was even more surprising based on the larger leg of lamb that we used. None the less, the lamb played to rave reviews and my friends family is still talking about this dinner today. We also made the bean recipe to go along with the lamb. This is a very easy meal and one that we will make again.

I was checking for this recipe which i made for company in March, so that I could make it tomorrow for Easter, when I saw the 53% rating. I was shocked! This recipe was easy, and delicious, we had NO leftovers, maybe the quality of the wine has an impact, be sure to cook with a wine you enjoy drinking.

Since when did "leg of lamb" become an "expensive" cut of lamb? Rack of lamb is expensive - but not the leg. This class of meat is PERFECT for braising. It's the best way to get everything all melted and tender, as another reviewer suggested. I think some people base these flawed arguments on their own experiences, and totally ignore the science and tradition of classic cuisine.

Overall this recipe was good. However, I had a 6 pound semi boneless leg and followed the cooking time exactly which produced a very overdone roast. The saving grace was the wonderful flavors of the ingredients and the flavorful sauce to rehydrate the meat. I added fresh rosemary and the juice of 1/2 lemon to the initial roasting. Didn't need the reserved garlic for the sauce, quite flavorful with out it. I made it a day ahead which allowed for the removal of the fat, yielding a less greasy sauce. Next time will cut back on the cooking time and believe it will earn 4 forks.

i just wanted to say that these reviews kill me. i cannot believe how some people would put such time and energy into writing the drivel they do. anyways, keep it coming as it is good comedic relief. by the way, i did not try this recipe but why anyone would braise a leg of lamb is beyond me.

This recipe effectively takes an expensive cut of lamb and a nice bottle of wine and turn them into a terrible version of lamb pot roast. I have learned my lesson. Shanks are for braising--legs for roasting. The gravy was bad too by the way. Just skip this recipe. No rehab possible in my opinion. The bean side dish was delicious. A keeper.

This dish was fantastic and easy to make. After adding the wine, you just turn down the temp to 350°F and put on the cover and basically forget about it for 2 3/4 hours. I made the beans dish along with the leg of lamb and it was delicious as well. I, however, did have serious doubts when I tasted the beans dish and the sauce/jus on the stove. I thought both tasted very bland, and I warned everyone that I wasn't making any promises. Well, at the table everything came together and was just delicious. I will definitely make this again.

I read the first posted reviews after I had already started preparing this. Wish I had seen them earlier. I thought this was a totally bland dish and only substituted lamb shanks for the leg to test the recipe. Otherwise, no changes. Glad I did substitute for my test, given the price difference between the two cuts. Besides, as it says in the recipe, shanks are for braising. I even mashed up all the roasted garlic from the pan into the au jus, but still found it totally lacking. Wish Iɽ gone with a couple of other recipes in the database for braised lamb shanks that had much higher ratings. The beans shown accompanying this dish in the magazine were much better.


1 of 20

Umami Grilled Leg of Lamb

This impressive main is very tender and loaded with dynamic flavor. The doneness of the lamb varies depending on what part of the meat you eat from, making it perfect for a crowd with different preferences. Most grocery stores carry deboned leg of lamb in spring, but you can also ask your butcher to cut the lamb bone out of the leg and to butterfly it. If the meat is thicker than 1 inch anywhere, cut it down to size or cook it longer. Know your grill and make sure to use a thermometer.


Preparation

Step 1

Toast coriander seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool finely grind in spice mill or mortar and pestle.

Step 2

Pound garlic, rosemary, oregano, and pepper with a mortar and pestle or pulse in a food processor until garlic and rosemary are broken into fine pieces or finely chopped. Mix in coriander, then, stirring constantly, stream in ½ cup oil. Mix until a thick paste forms. Season lamb all over with kosher salt and spread half of the rosemary paste over inside of lamb. Starting from a short end, roll up lamb so it’s resting seam side down. Starting at the center, tie with kitchen twine at even intervals. Rub outside of lamb with remaining rosemary paste and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours (letting the lamb marinate longer will really allow the flavors to meld and permeate the meat).

Step 3

Remove lamb from refrigerator and let sit to come to room temperature, about 1 hour (this facilitates even cooking).

Step 4

Preheat oven to 450°. Roast lamb until well browned all over, 20–25 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300°.

Step 5

Meanwhile, heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot large enough to fit lamb over medium. Add onion, fennel, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and golden, 15–20 minutes. Add chiles de árbol and wine and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Step 6

Carefully place lamb in pot and pour in water to come halfway up sides of meat. Place in oven and braise lamb, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°, about 1 hour. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes.

Step 7

Slice lamb and transfer to a platter. Spoon some braising liquid over and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with salsa verde and harissa.


Braised Leg of Lamb with Stewed Apples and Polenta - Recipes

above: braised, cooled, chilled overnight, sliced and covered in its sauce right before warming in oven for serving the second day

Lamb, the meat of any-time-of-the-year special occasions, happy summer grilling, and winter warming stews, is the quintessential meat despite the infamous quote from, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,”

Aunt Voula : What do you mean he don’t eat no meat?

[ the entire room stops, in shock ]

Aunt Voula : Oh, that’s okay. I make lamb.

In Aunt Voula’s world, there are no vegetarians. There are only people who eat beef and pork and chicken or, if not, then only eat lamb. If you’re an eat-lamb sort, this post, this recipe, is written just for you. If you’re not, I’ll bet you’ll still love this. No joke.

above: world from my friend Lani’s living room last Saturday

This is a turn on the oven recipe at a time when spring is ginning up in many parts of the world, but as I’ve just spent several days in St. Paul, Minnesota, spring seems far away…

above: from left–Lani, Margo, me, Sue braving the streets to walk to brunch. Upper right corner shows the barely visible red brick building where I lived during graduate school summers at University of St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy Lani Jordan)

In fact, my plane was delayed two days before I finally got home because it simply didn’t stop snowing. I’d barely gotten out of the airport before it caught on fire… To stay I’m happy to be home is an understatement.

Save this recipe for later or make it soon while oven meals still beckon or if you have central air. In fact, if you have friends coming to dinner next week or want something meaty-special for a Mother’s Day dinner, this IS IT. Divvy up the sides to your friends or family and make it a potluck for an easier day.

Buy a boneless, tied leg of lamb (or do it yourself if you’re strong and hearty) and either braise it for the day you’re serving–in which case it will be medium to medium-rare, or–as I like it best–make it today, let it cool, slice it tomorrow (removing bits of gristle and fat). You can then warm it in its decadent sauce and serve it with something smashingly homey and soft like lemon polenta, mashed potato casserole, or steamed rice, along with fresh asparagus, and the best Cabernet Sauvignon or biggest Chianti you can afford. I can’t begin to tell you what a smashing meal this is. And it’s all the more attractive because you can make it the day before and give yourself a real break before company comes.

My recipe is a riff on a REAL SIMPLE recipe to whom I’m oh-so-beholden (scroll down for link), but I made it several times in different ways and think I’ve come up with a stunning piece of lamb braised in a winey-briney tomato sauce full of olives, capers, and garlic–just what the doctor ordered for lamb. I doubt you’ll have any left, but if you do, make my Spring Lamb Stew–scroll down for info. While your leg of lamb might not be terribly large (circa 5 pounds), lamb is very rich and servings should be less than if you were serving pork or beef. So, while it might be pricey, and it is a special piece of meat, it goes further. Try this soon:

above: sliced after a brief rest on the day it was braised

ITALIAN-STYLE BRAISED LEG OF LAMB

I include here directions for serving today or making ahead, cooling, slicing, and warming to serve the next day. I like the made-ahead version best, though the lamb will then be cooked to medium-well and that’s even though I adore medium-rare lamb. If you serve the lamb the day it is cooked, you should have a medium (pink) or medium-rare (pink to light red) leg of lamb with some browner edges for those who like their meat more well-done. I include specific directions below along with a temperature chart for lamb. Read through thoroughly.

• 5-6 pounds boneless, tied leg of lamb
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 garlic heads, halved crosswise
• 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets–these will dissolve in the sauce
• 3 rosemary sprigs
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
• 1 cup pitted and halved kalamata olives–added later
• ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed–added later
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar–added later

ONE HOUR BEFORE COOKING: Let lamb rest at room temperature for an hour or so before cooking to ensure an evenly cooked piece of meat.

20 MINUTES BEFORE COOKING: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place oven rack at center of oven.

SEASON/BROWN THE LAMB/ADD SAUCE INGREDIENTS: While oven heats, remove lamb from packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Season lamb, patting or rubbing in the salt and pepper. Heat oil in large dutch oven or roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown well, turning occasionally to make sure all sides are brown—about 20 minutes. While last side browns, add onion, garlic, anchovies, and rosemary. Add wine and tomatoes bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

ROAST LAMB + SAUCE IN OVEN/CHECK TEMPERATURE: Cover tightly with dutch oven lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for an hour or so remove and check the temperature of the lamb with an instant-read thermometer.

If the temperature is 110-115 degrees F, stir in the olives, capers, and red wine vinegar, squeeze out the cloves of garlic into the sauce, and return lamb with sauce to the oven for another few minutes until the temperature hits 120 degrees F. Let rest 10-15 minutes, slice, return meat to pan and stir a bit to make sure all of the meat is covered with sauce over all.

If the temperature is already 120 degrees F after the first check, remove meat to a rack. Add olives, capers, and red wine vinegar to the sauce and simmer on the stove top, first squeezing out cloves of garlic into the sauce. Let meat rest 10 minutes, slice, and return to pan, stirring to make sure meat is covered with sauce over all. Remove rosemary sprigs the leaves will have disappeared into the sauce.

SERVE TODAY HOT OR WARM: Arrange meat on a platter and spoon sauce on top. Serve hot or warm. If it becomes cool or even cold, it’s still totally delicious.

The temperature of the lamb will rise at least 10 degrees during a 15 minute rest, so that 120 degrees, quite rare, becomes 130 degrees, medium-rare with a few done slices at the end. See temperature chart below.

MAKE AHEAD AND SERVE TOMORROW: Follow directions above, cooking meat to no higher temperature than 115 degrees F. Add the olives, capers, and red wine vinegar to the sauce and squeeze out the garlic cloves into it. Let meat cool completely in sauce at room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to one day. Slice meat thinly, cutting out gristle and fat if needed. Return sliced meat to pan and spoon sauce over, stirring in a little water if the sauce is really thick. Reheat covered in a preheated 350 F oven until hot and bubbly—30-40 minutes. Arrange on a platter, spooning sauce over all. The meat will be cooked medium to medium-well, but will be very tender and flavorful. If you’d like a rarer piece of meat the second day, do not re-heat it in the oven, but instead slice, arrange on a platter, and serve it cold with a separately warmed sauce.

Lamb Roast Internal Cooking Temperatures:

Rare: 120 to 125 degrees F – center is bright red, pinkish toward the exterior portion

Medium Rare: 130 to 135 degrees F – center is very pink, slightly brown toward the exterior portion

Medium: 140 to 145 degrees F – center is light pink, outer portion is brown

Medium Well: 150 to 155 degrees F – not pink

Well Done: 160 degrees F and above – meat is uniformly brown throughout


Preparation

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof pot over high heat. Sear lamb on all sides, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent scorching, until deep brown, about 18 minutes. Transfer lamb to a platter. Add onions, celery, and carrots to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize, about 25 minutes.

Step 2

Add 4 cups water to pot. Bring to a simmer, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon return lamb and its juices to pot. Add water just to cover lamb (10–12 cups, depending on size of pot). Add thyme, rosemary, and garlic bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven.

Step 3

Braise until lamb easily pulls apart when pierced with a fork, 4–4 1/2 hours. Let lamb cool completely in stock. Transfer lamb to a platter. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl discard solids. Return stock and lamb to pot. Let cool, cover, and chill overnight. DO AHEAD: Lamb can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Step 4

Remove lamb from stock shred into large pieces. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan discard solids. (Because the fat is cold and still solid, it will strain easily.) Bring strained stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium simmer until reduced to 3 cups, about 25 minutes. DO AHEAD: Lamb can be shredded into large pieces and stock can be strained and reduced up to 1 day ahead. Cover separately chill.

Squash and Onion Sauce

Step 5

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Using a fork, poke holes into flesh all over squash place on baking sheet. Coat squash lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast squash until juices seep from the holes and a paring knife inserted into the skin slides through easily, about 1 hour. Let squash cool divide into quarters. Discard stem, seeds, and membranes. Using a spoon, scoop out 1" pieces of flesh discard skin. DO AHEAD: Squash can be roasted 2 days ahead cover and chill.

Step 6

Heat butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until deep nutty brown (do not burn), about 8 minutes. Strain brown butter through a coffee filter–lined sieve set over a large skillet. Heat butter over medium heat add garlic and cook until light golden, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a plate. Cook shallot in same pan until golden and beginning to get crisp, 2–3 minutes. Transfer shallot to plate with garlic.

Step 7

Reduce heat to medium-low and add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well caramelized, about 45 minutes. Stir in reserved garlic and shallot, bay leaf, orange zest, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric. Season to taste with salt. DO AHEAD: Onion sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover chill. Rewarm before using.

Step 8

Preheat oven to 350°. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1/2 cup onion sauce. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes.

Step 9

Bring lamb, reduced stock, and 1/4 cup onion sauce to a simmer in a large pan over low heat. Divide lamb and squash among plates. Drizzle with reduced stock and remaining onion sauce garnish with parsley.


Red Wine Braised Leg Of Lamb

Meredith had a little lamb… and it was delicious.

My mother-in-law has the tendency to bring meat as a present (we all remember the home defense roast story). This to other people would sound weird but to me it’s fantastic. So, for Christmas I got a leg of lamb that was raised by a local 4-H kid. It took everything in my power to save it till Easter but alas it didn’t happen as The Husband talked me into cooking it last week before one of his ultra trail running races. But yea, there’s always a silver lining as now you can have this fabulous (if I do say so myself) recipe just in time for Easter or whatever spring celebration you might be having. That’s right, ugh.. I mean I cooked this early especially for you. Who’s always looking out for you?

This recipe is inspired by a meal I had in California when I was out there for the California Raisin harvest. During a dinner at The Palms in Fresno, I ordered the lamb shank braised in red wine and tomatoes. It was heaven. So delicious in fact that the first thing I thought of when I got my hands on some lamb was remaking it and adding raisins that would provide a subtle sweetness this dish was missing.

Rich, elegant, and above succulent, Red Wine Braised Lamb is the perfect meal for special gatherings or just a meal at home. I can’t even describe how DELICIOUS this lamb is and how EASY it is to make. If you don’t believe me just try it and you will see. Cheers!

Red Wine Braised Leg of Lamb serves 8
prep time: 12 minutes · cook time: 4 hours

  • 5 pound leg of lamb (bone in or out)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 cups dry red wine (try a Petit Syrha)
  • 1 small 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • garnish (optional): golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, or herbs

Preheat oven to 325°F. Season the leg of lamb with salt and pepper.

In a large braising pot or dutch oven, heat the oil on high until it smokes. (Don’t forget to turn your fan on or the smoke detector will go off and before you know it you’re surrounded by gorgeous firemen. On second thought…) Place the seasoned lamb in the pot and sear each side until dark brown, about 3 minutes a side.

Once the lamb is finished browning, turn off heat and add wine, tomato paste, tomatoes, raisins, garlic cloves, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Stir to combine. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour on 325°F. Then reduce heat to 275°F and braise for another 3 hours.

Once the lamb is finished, remove it to a plate and cover it with foil. Using a large strainer, strain the leftover ingredients from the stock, reserving the stock.

Pour the stock back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until reduced by half. Finish it off by adding butter and stir to combine.

All you need to do now is plate! The lamb is so tender it will fall off the bone. Serve with sauce and garnish with raisins. Make this meal in the photograph by making mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts or pair it with polenta, coscous, or risotto — all are fabulous. Cheers!


There are so many ways to enjoy this lamb after the fact. Make a lamb sandwich, tacos, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwich, enjoy a lamb stir fry, fold into your favorite pasta and sauce, or even slice your lamb and create a lamb pizza.

If you are trying to decide what to make for your family, give this Red Wine Braised Leg of Lamb recipe a spot on your table. Australian lamb can be found at most of your local grocery stores like Whole Foods, Costco, and Wegmans — simply look for “product of Australia” on the label or #askforAustralian. Enjoy!