Braised Lamb Shoulder

Roary MacPherson

Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

For his Beard House dinner, Roary MacPherson served this braised lamb with a root vegetable–split pea ratatouille, but it’s wonderful with any combination vegetables.


  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 to 4 parsley stems
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 5 pounds boned lamb shoulder, rolled and tied (you can ask your butcher to do this), at room temperature
  • 2 medium celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups beef stock or lamb stock
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt to taste


Preheat oven to 300°F. Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and roast until soft and fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Make a sachet by tying the parsley, peppercorns, cardamom pods, bay leaf, and thyme in a piece of cheesecloth.

In a heavy cast-iron Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Add the lamb and sear it on all sides, about 5 minutes each side. When a nice brown crust has developed all over the meat, remove it from the pan and set it aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the celery, onions, carrots, and garlic to the Dutch oven and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are slightly translucent.

Return the lamb to the Dutch oven and add the tomatoes, stock, and the sachet holding the herbs and spices. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 4 to 5 hours, or until the lamb is tender.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Transfer the lamb to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Remove and discard the sachet.

Skim off as much fat as you can from the top of the braising liquid, reserving a quarter of a cup and discarding the rest. Heat the fat in a separate saucepan over low heat, then gradually stir in the flour until a paste forms. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is a rich brown color. (This mixture is known as roux.)

Bring the remaining braising liquid back to a boil, then lower the heat and whisk in the roux. Simmer for 15 minutes, until thick and velvety, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve and season to taste with salt.

Slice the lamb across the grain and arrange the slices on warm plates. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve immediately.


4 to 6 servings