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Braised Lamb Shoulder with Fried Shallots

(recipe, Jonathan Waxman)

Introduction

This American version of a French daube replaces the traditional beef with lamb.

Ingredients

  1. 1¼ cups olive oil
  2. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 1 boneless lamb shoulder roast (6 pounds)
  4. 2 cups Chianti (or other red wine)
  5. 2 large white onions
  6. 2 carrots
  7. 2 leeks
  8. 8 garlic cloves
  9. 2 jalapeño chiles
  10. ½ cup kalamata olives
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 1½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  13. 5 drained canned plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  14. 5 shallots
  15. 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Steps

  1. Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the lamb and sear it on all sides, giving the meat a good golden color, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the lamb to a platter. Deglaze the pot with the wine, stirring up the browned bits. Return the lamb to the casserole and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Cut the onions into 1-inch pieces. Peel the carrots and cut into 1-inch pieces. Wash and trim the leeks and cut them into 4-inch lengths. Halve the garlic cloves. Stem and chop the chiles. Pit and chop the olives. Add the onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, chiles, olives, bay leaf, and thyme to the casserole, scattering them around the lamb.
  5. Chop the tomatoes and add them as well. Add enough water to come up to just below the top of the lamb and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover the pot tightly, set in the hot oven, and cook for 4 hours, or until the lamb is very tender and falling apart. Remove the casserole from the oven and skim off the fat from the liquid. Discard the bay leaf and cover the stew to keep it hot.
  7. Meanwhile, thinly slice the shallots.
  8. Place the flour on a plate and toss the shallots in the flour. Heat the remaining 1 cup olive oil in a large skillet to 325 degrees. Fry the shallots, in batches if necessary, until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Salt them.
  9. Spoon a good piece of lamb (it will break apart into large chunks), a bit of braising liquid, and some vegetables into bowls. Top with fried shallots and serve.