Lamb Shoulder with Anchovy and Onion Jam

Contributed by: Chef Michael Sanguinetti

Lamb Shoulder with Anchovy and Onion Jam

Recipe type: Yield: 6 Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

Your holiday guests will love this flavor-packed meal centered around this braised lamb shoulder recipe that incorporates the rich and hearty tastes of the season.


4 lbs Lamb Shoulder, with fat cap removed
2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons Whole black peppercorns, Toasted and Lightly crushed
Olive Oil, as Needed
3 Medium Red Onion, Sliced thin
10 clove Garlic Clove, Smashed
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
0.250 Cup Anchovy Paste, 2oz can of anchovies smashed with some oil to form paste
2 Tbl Rosemary, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Paprika Smoked
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup Red Wine, preferably fruit forward
1 Tbl Honey
1 quart Chicken Broth


  1. Score, Tie, and Dry-Brine the Lamb
  2. 1. If your lamb shoulder does not come with a thick fat cap, skip this scoring step. Place the lamb on a clean work surface so its fat side faces up. Hold a razor blade or very sharp paring knife at a 45-degree angle over one of the fat cap’s top corners. Score the fat on a diagonal, running the blade from the top corner down and across. When scoring, make sure not to cut through into the meat; each incision should just barely cut into the fat, about 1/8 inch deep. Continue
  3. scoring the fat in this fashion, spacing incisions 1/4 inch apart. Stop scoring the cap when the fat begins to taper off. Now, working in the opposite direction, repeat the scoring so a tight diamond pattern forms across the fat cap.
  4. 2. Season the lamb on all sides with 2 tablespoons of salt and the pepper. Tie the lamb up with butcher’s twine, using a standard butcher’s loop spaced at 1-inch intervals. The tied shoulder should form a uniform cylinder.
  5. Build the Braise
  6. 1. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and swirl in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (1/4 cup if your shoulder does not have a fat cap). When the oil is shimmering-hot, lay in the lamb, fat side down if that applies.
  7. 2. Sear the fat cap, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent scorching, for 10 minutes, or until it crisps and browns deeply. Then rotate, lightly searing all sides of the shoulder until they easily release from the pot and are a light golden brown. Transfer the lamb back to the cooling rack and set it aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot, making sure to keep the fond in place
  8. 3. Set the pot back over medium-low heat and stir in the onions, scraping up all of the fond on the bottom. Gently stew the onions for 45 minutes, or until they collapse and caramelize richly. Stir frequently so they color evenly; the longer you take in the step and the more you stir, the more profound the flavor will be.
  9. 4. Stir in the tomato paste and mustard and sauté for 2 minutes, or until the paste cooks into the onions. Add the anchovy paste, rosemary, and pimentón. Raise the heat to medium-high. Pour in the vinegar, wine, and agave. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid turns syrupy and the onions are soft. Season with salt to taste. Return the lamb shoulder to the pot with its fat cap facing up. Spoon and smear the onion jam all over the lamb and pour in enough lamb broth to cover two-thirds of the shoulder. Bring the broth up to a simmer, then reduce the heat to a lazy bubble.
  10. 5. Cover the pot and transfer it to the center rack of the oven. Braise the lamb for 11/2 hours, or until its center is easily pierced with a knife or cake tester, but the meat is still bouncy when prodded. Every 30 minutes, baste the lamb, re-cover, and rotate the pot 90 degrees.
  11. Finish and Serve
  12. 1. Remove the pot from the oven and thoroughly baste the lamb shoulder with the juices and caramelized onions. Season with salt to taste. Re-cover and let the lamb rest for 30 minutes, or until the internal juices settle. (At this stage, you may cool it—ideally by placing the pot in a sink filled with ice water—and refrigerate it overnight. Rewarm it over a gentle, medium-low flame.)
  13. 2. To serve, transfer the lamb to a cutting board and cut away the twine. Slice the meat into thick slices and arrange them on a warm platter. Spoon the onion-anchovy pan sauce on top.

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