This delicious Lamb Ragù recipe uses lamb shoulder chops - one of the most economical ways to get some lamb into your recipe rotation!
Lamb can be expensive but shoulder chops are quite reasonable and give big flavor in return for a long slow cooking time. The long slow braise leaves you with a rich, favorful meaty sauce that is delicious over a sturdy pasta. I love the smell of this cooking in the oven all afternoon.
For the wine you use in the sauce - use the wine you intend to serve with it if you can. It is a very subtle thing but the wine reduced in your sauce and the wine in will your glass at dinner with complement each other.
I added a bit of demi-glace to the sauce because I usually have some in the freezer. It is optional but it does add an additional layer of rich flavor to the sauce. I also usually have some San Marzano tomatoes in my freezer from my summer harvest. I just pick them when they are ripe, rinse them and freeze them whole in a freezer bag. Adding 3 or 4 to a sauce like this also adds a bit of enhanced flavor. I used frozen San Marzano tomatoes but wrote the recipe with tomato paste since most people don't grow and preserve their own paste tomatoes.
Wine Pairing for Lamb Ragù
If you are serving over pasta go with an with a red Italian wine such as Chianti or Ripasso.
The meat and the sauce are fairly rich so you could also choose any full bodied red like a Bordeaux, Australian Shiraz or Argentinian Bonarda.
- 8 lamb shoulder chops
- salt and pepper to season
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 medium shallots
- 1 leek white part only
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 ½ cups robust red wine like cabernet sauvignon, ripasso or chianti
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds optional
- ½ cup demi-glace optional
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in an oven proof dutch oven over high heat. Salt and pepper the chops and brown on both sides.
- Add the shallots, leek and garlic and cook about 4 minutes more. Add the broth, wine and tomato paste and mix well.
- Add the spices and demi-glace if using. Mix well and heat through.
- Transfer dutch oven to the oven and cook uncovered about 4 hours. Stir partway through.
- After 4 hours strain the liquid off and reserve it. Note: If you prefer the sauce to be thicker you can either reduce the reserved liquid on the stove top by simmering uncovered, or mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch into a bit of water and thicken the sauce over medium heat on the stove top.
- Remove the shoulder chops and gently separate the meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the reserved liquid. Discard the bones and any other solids remaining from straining the liquid off above.
- When the sauce is the consistency you want add the meat back in to the sauce.
- Serve of sturdy pasta such as penne, pappardelle or tagliatelle.