This recipe from Dinners at the Farm in Connecticut combines spring produce with lamb, a meat typically associated with the season. You may need to call ahead to order lamb shoulder from your regular butcher. Look for a producer of grass-fed lamb in your area.
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chopped onion (about 1 pound)
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups fruity white wine (such as riesling)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 pound small red potatoes, halved
1/2 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
How to Make It
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Spoon onion mixture into a large bowl. Add half of lamb to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan; add to onion mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining lamb.
Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return lamb mixture to pan; add salt and pepper. Combine oregano, parsley, and rosemary. Add half of herb mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until lamb is tender. Add potatoes, turnips, and carrots to pan. Cover and cook 40 minutes or until tender. Add asparagus; cook 5 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Stir in remaining herb mixture.
Wine note: This succulent lamb shoulder surrounded by roasted root vegetables is fantastic with an earthy pinot noir. Try one that's rich and full bodied to mirror the richness of the lamb. Talley Pinot Noir 2006 from California's Arroyo Grande Valley ($36) is sensational. —Karen MacNeil
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Want to make a point about the wine in this dish. "Fruity" does not mean sweet. You want a completely dry wine made from the Riesling grape. Look for a wine with the quality of kabinett or trocken, If you ask an expert at the store, you might be able to find a spatlese that will work. There should be little or no residual sugar in the wine itself of this dish will fall apart. If German wines scare you, go with a Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, they will be lighter but should do the trick. And while Karen MacNeil suggested a Pinot Noir to sip with this, you could also choose a California Chardonnay since the vegetables are braised, not roasted.
Fabulous, but I'm giving four rather than five stars because it was likely my changes that made this dish so WONDERFUL. I used only 18 oz. liquid total: 10 oz. pinot grigio and 8 oz. chicken broth. I doubled the fresh rosemary and used a full 1/4 cup of parsley, with some fresh lemon squeezed just before serving. Most of all, I browned the bones and didn't take them out until serving, thereby thickening the broth and giving it that mellow richness. Served with a romaine, pear & blue cheese salad with a simple apple tart for dessert.
I'm surprised by the other reviews--I thought this recipe was wonderful! I made it for company tonight and it got great reviews. Cooking time was accurate and the flavor of the dish was superb. I liked the recipe because you could do a lot of the prep hours before the company arrived and then let it cook while setting the table and tidying up. Try it--you'll like it!
I read this recipe a few times before attempting it. I did not like the idea of using only white wine as the cooking liquid -- especially since it calls for a sweet, white wine. Going with my better instincts, I used 2 cups pinot grigio and 1 cup chicken stock. Even with that substitution, everyone at my party thought this tasted a little too sweet and lacking in herbal flavor. I felt that the use of carrots, turnips, and a sweet white wine were nearly the equivalent of dumping sugar into the dutch oven along with the meat. This could be nice if it were reworked a bit. Perhaps using only 1 cup of white wine and doubling the herbs? The meat was tender and the vegetables really hold their shape when you follow the cooking times provided. But, I didn't care for the sweetness at all.
I like this recipe. The flavors are wonderful. My veggies took way longer (I mean 3 hours longer for the way I like my veggies) to cook than the 40 +5 minutes suggested in the recipe for 1" cubed veggies, but it came out wonderful (I wasn't counting on it being ready at a particular time so it didn't matter to me). I had a nice reisling recommendation from the Wegman's wine shop that worked well. The only change I made was I wasn't sure about the asparagus, so I left them out and just roasted them separately.
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