Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Orange, Yogurt & Herbs

Ingredients (28)

For the Lamb:

  • 4 pound [1.8-kg] bone-in lamb shoulder roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Beans:

  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 garlic head, halved lengthwise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound [455 g] flageolet beans, soaked in water to cover overnight
  • 6 cups [1.4 L] vegetable stock, plus more as needed

For the Soffrito:

  • ¼ cup [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic head, halved through the equator
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup [240 ml] dry white wine
  • 1 cup [240 ml] chicken stock
  • 1¼ cups [300 ml] fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups [50 g] packed chopped mixed fresh herbs such as tarragon, dill, basil, mint, chives, and parsley
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp [75 ml] Greek yogurt
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Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Orange, Yogurt & Herbs

Pairing rich meats with a generous quantity of bright herbs cuts the fatty flavor. This is a radical idea for someone like me, who was trained to use herbs as garnishes rather than as a main flavor in a dish. This particular recipe was inspired by the Persian lamb stews I’ve had in L.A., made with copious amounts of herbs cooked with the meat. This tender, flavorful meat is great with crispy shallots and brown rice or served over couscous. You can also use lamb neck in this recipe, if you can get your hands on it.
Lamb neck is layered with muscle and fat, not unlike pork belly, and this braising method suits it beautifully.

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Cooking from Venice, California

by Travis Lett

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Tips for Lamb and Beans


  1. 1Season the lamb with salt and pepper and allow to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  2. 2

    To make the beans: In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme and cook until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. 3Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, bringing the liquid to a steady simmer. Partially cover the pot with a lid or parchment paper, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans swell and start to become tender, about 1 hour.

  4. 4Add more stock if necessary throughout the cooking process to maintain a stewlike consistency. Season with more salt and pepper, stir in the soffrito, cover, and turn off the heat.
  1. 1

    To cook the lamb: Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. In a large Dutch oven with a 12-qt [11.4-L] capacity over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until hot
    but not smoking.

  2. 2Add the seasoned lamb, fatty-side down, and sear until the fat turns a deep chestnut brown, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the lamb to the other side and continue to sear until well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Sear the edges of the meat as well by standing it up in the pan. Once you have a dark sear on all sides, transfer to a plate and set aside.

  3. 3Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the hot pan. If the lamb soaked up all the olive oil, add another 2 to
    Lightly season with salt and pepper.

  4. 4Cook the vegetables until caramelized, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and thyme; turn the heat to low; and cook for another 3 minutes.

  5. 5Add the wine, stock, and 1 cup [240 ml] of the orange juice. Nestle the lamb into the vegetables, cover, and cook in the oven until the meat is fork-tender, 2½ to 3 hours. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest.

  6. 6Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Skim off any excess fat. Add the remaining ¼ cup [60 ml] orange juice and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced by about 60 percent and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

  7. 7Remove the sauce from the heat and, while still hot, stir in the mixed herbs until wilted. Let the sauce cool slightly, and then vigorously whisk in the yogurt. (If the sauce is too hot, it may break when you add the yogurt.) Season with salt and pepper.

  8. 8Ladle the beans into bowls. Slice the lamb and place the slices over the beans, then pour the herb sauce over the lamb. Serve hot.

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