—To learn more, read "Spring Fling" in our National edition. See the rest of the recipes in this story: Crispy Potatoes with Saffron Aioli; Baby Artichokes with Toasted Hazelnuts and Green Olives; Gem Lettuce with Crème Fraîche, Breakfast Radishes and Toasted Breadcrumbs and Almond Cake with Macerated Strawberries and Cardamom Cream.
Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Pounded Herbs and Green Garlic
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes, plus overnight marinating
Cook Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes, plus overnight marinating
For the marinade:
7½ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, fat trimmed
1 lemon, peeled using a vegetable peeler
3 sprigs rosemary, stems removed
6 sprigs thyme, bruised
1 cup chopped green garlic or 10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons salt
For the braise:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup chopped green garlic or 1 head of garlic, halved
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry white wine
6 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and lightly ground
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced green garlic or 1 garlic clove, minced
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups finely chopped parsley
⅓ cup chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped marjoram
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1. For the marinade: Lay the lamb shoulder on a clean work surface. Combine the lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, green garlic and olive oil and rub all over lamb. Sprinkle salt all over the lamb and transfer to a shallow dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. For the braise: Remove the lamb from the fridge and brush off the lemon, rosemary leaves, thyme sprigs and green garlic and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°.
3. Roll the lamb shoulder into a cylindrical shape. Using kitchen twine, tie the lamb at 2-inch intervals.
4. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and salt and cook until softened but not colored, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions and carrots to a large roasting pan. Place the lamb, fat side up, in the roasting pan. Add the green garlic, chicken stock, white wine, thyme, rosemary leaves, bay leaves, ground fennel and red pepper flakes to the roasting pan. Cover with foil, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour.
5. Remove the foil and reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue cooking for 2½ hours more, turning the lamb twice to brown the exposed sides.
6. Make the sauce: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the shallots, red wine vinegar, green garlic and salt. Let stand 15 minutes. In a mortar, add the marjoram, chives and parsley and lightly pound the herbs with a pestle to release their oils. Add the pounded herbs to the macerated shallots and garlic. Stir in the olive oil, capers, mustard and lemon zest.
7. Remove the lamb from the oven and transfer to a carving board. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the pan juices. While the meat is resting, transfer 4 cups of the pan juices to a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and boil until reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Slice the lamb thickly and transfer to platter. Spoon over the reduced pan juices and serve with the pounded herb sauce on the side.