Cabernet-Braised American Lamb Shoulder with Rosemary and Bay Leaves
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Credit: Michael Scelfo, Executive Chef, Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, Mass.
The National Culinary Review, October 2012
¼ cup fennel seeds
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 lbs. boneless American lamb shoulder roast, untied
6 medium shallots, rough chop
6 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 sweet, crisp apples (e.g., Gala), cored, rough chop
2 medium carrots, peeled, rough chop
2 medium celery stalks, rough chop
1 (750 ml) bottle cabernet sauvignon
4 cups chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth
8 fresh rosemary sprigs, tied with butcher’s twine
6 fresh bay leaves
1. In spice grinder or coffee mill, process fennel seeds until fine. In small bowl, put ground fennel, salt and pepper. Add 2 T. oil; stir to combine. Evenly rub lamb with fennel/oil mixture; roll lamb, tie. Set aside.
2. In large heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 T. oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook until browned on all sides, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to large plate.
3. Wipe out pot. Add remaining 1 T. oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, apples, carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and mixture begins to brown, 8-10 minutes. Return lamb to pot; add wine, broth, rosemary sprigs and bay leaves. Increase heat to high; bring liquid to a boil. Cover pot; transfer to oven. Braise at 350ºF until fork slides easily into center and meat pulls apart with fork, 3-3½ hours, turning roast every 45 minutes.
4. Remove pot from oven. Transfer lamb to large platter; cover. Set aside.
5. Strain broth in pot through fine-mesh sieve. Discard vegetables and herbs. Wipe out pot; pour strained broth back in. Bring broth to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer until liquid is reduced to 1½ cups, about 1 hour. Pour sauce into fat separator; set aside to settle.
6. Remove twine from roast; discard. Pull lamb. Remove fat from sauce. Pour sauce into serving dish. Top with lamb. Drizzle some sauce over lamb; serve rest on side.
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