Friday, November 11, 2011

Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shoulder – “Seasoned” Perfectly

This pomegranate braised lamb shoulder is about as seasonally appropriate as it gets, and one of the best things I’ve tasted in a long time. Actually, that’s not technically true, since I ate this same dish at the neighborhood restaurant I stole the idea from last week.

The place is called, Bar Bambino, and if you’re ever in San Francisco, you should give it a try. Anyway, I was so impressed by the combination of fall flavors, colors and textures that I decided to replicate it here. I think it’s a gorgeous plate of food, and all modesty aside, it tastes even better than it looks.

As I joke about in the video, braised lamb is pretty tough to screw up. Simply cook it until it’s tender, and if it isn’t quite succulent enough, leave it in a bit longer. That’s the reason that shoulder chops work so well, as they have the right amount of fat and connective tissue for the long, slow braise.

By the way, if you don’t have a large skillet with a lid like I used here, simply transfer everything into a Dutch oven before putting it in the oven. In a pinch, you could even do this in a stockpot, on top of the stove, over very low heat.

Anyway, the timing is perfect for this lovely fall meal, especially with the roasted pumpkin I used to dress up the plate. I will show you that simple procedure in a future video soon. In the meantime, I really hope you give this a try. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 4 servings:
3 lbs thick-cut lamb shoulder chops (of course this would work with shanks as well)
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil as needed
1 sliced onion
4 cloves sliced garlic
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
8 whole mint leaves, plus more to garnish
1/4 tsp hot chili flakes
1 tbsp honey, or to taste
1 tbsp freshly sliced mint leaves
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John....love your site and recipes. Is there a way to print your recipes with instructions? Thanks so much for sharing all of these yummy recipes!

Chef John said...

No, but I believe Allrecipes is working on this.

Gina said...

That looks amazing! And the instructions on the video are really easy. No excuse for me to NOT try this!

grumbleghoul said...

So..let's assume I've made this a day ahead. What would be the best method for me to reheat this dish?

Just askin' 'cause this looks wonderful

Chef John said...

Microwave would work perfectly, or just add a splash of water to the sauce and heat slowly in that.

Anonymous said...

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-seed-pomegranate-there-will-not.html

Jason said...

Is there a beef alternative to lamb shoulder I could use for this recipe? It looks delicious but I am a poor person and I know beef is a poor substitute, but would you have any suggestions as to a cut to use?

Chef John said...

Why would beef be a poor substitute?! Beef chuck would be great in this! Just different, but not bad by any means. btw, lamb shoulder is pretty cheap, almost the same as beef.

Stelio said...

Hi Chef John, I love your lamb recipe the pomegranate juice idea is excellent and will definitely do it. I would like to ask though, how old is the lamb. I mean is it a milk feeding lamb or over 9 months old? Those shoulder cutlets look pretty big.Thanks and have a good day.

Chef John said...

No idea! this recipe will workd with any age/size lamb. btw, those weren't loin chops, they were from the shoulder. I think all supermarket lamb, which this was, is pretty standard.

The Photo From said...

Hi Chef John,I love you blog and videos. Now I live in a university dormitory which cooking is not allow,
so I cannot cook but I will follow your blog.

huntdonald said...

That is a speciality I have never tried or made... I love the idea.

Rita said...

mouth-watering! and as always... i will enjoy!

Michael said...

Chef John rockin' the All-Clad. Was that a 13" French Skillet with helper handle? Also, the Lamb looks beyond delicious. And looks beyond eurphoric with your plating. I want to make and/or eat this now.

Noelle said...

Chef John, after searing the lamb, do you think the braise could be done in a crock-pot?

Chef John said...

Sure! You can braising anything in a crock pot.

Elena said...

So delicious, but not so easy to cook
I'll try the recipe for my parents dinner.

Me.Eat.Food said...

Chef John, this looks amazing and I'm going to try it!

By the way, what size is that pan? I'm in the market for a stainless steel pan to supplement my cast iron. Thanks!

Chef John said...

Yes, this is the All-Clad 13" French Skillet! Great pan, except I hate there skinny handle design/shape.

javier said...

Chef John, thanks for another great recipe idea. I certainly miss cook 101 training but what exactly made you think of the sauce needing sweetness? is it because you've had it before and you know you like some honey in it or was it purely based on your tasting the sauce? Adding sweetness never comes to my mind. thanks

Candice said...

Hey Chef John,

For this dish, can we just leave it on the stove
on low heat for 2 hours instead of leaving it in
the oven?

Do you think it will make any difference to the
dish in terms of taste?

candice

Chef John said...

Sure, no prob.

Chef John said...

Yea, I simply tasted it and adjusted. You should always consider sweetness when seasoning.

Atticus said...

Chef, I'm a poor graduate student and do not have a proper pan for this.

Can I go all Macgyver on this recipe? That is, screw off the plastic handles from a pot and take some heavy duty foil to form a tight seal around the meat. (I guess my inner Alton Brown is trying to come out).

Food Junkie said...

This is a great sounding recipe that will be on my plate if my lamb order ever arrives. With endless opportunities to modify this with different juices and meats this video is almost a technique instead of a recipe.

Martha Maria said...

hola mi querido y admirado chef!!espero que pueda traducir mi mensaje al ingles porque solamente hablo espanol.gracias a usted e podido realizar varias recetas de su blog, y quiero que sepa que lo admiro mucho,y quiero agradecer su existencia! si porque no sabe los milagros que hacen sus recetas en mi vida! gracias .

Tom from Fogtown said...

Hi Chef John!! I love your blog!! I was wondering what you would recommend to have this luscious lamb with instead of using the roasted pumpkin? Thanks!!

Chef John said...

What do you like? I'd go with that! ;-) It would go with anything really, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.

PaloAlto said...

I made this yesterday and it was fabulous. Was done in the early afternoon so I put the sauce in a bowl of ice in the fridge, and in no time the fat had risen. I removed most but left a little.

I warmed the meat in the sauce in a pot with a tight fitting lid.

Served like you did circled with roast cauliflower florets and butternut squash cubes. (and crusty bread) It looked beautiful and tasted delicious.

THANKS!!

anaileliana said...

1st glance of this dish on a phone made me think it was roasted or grilled pineapple rings around the meat. Would pineapple work? This video made me tremble.

Chef John said...

I think it would be too similar to the juice. Thanks!

Spot in Cyberspace said...

How very Mediterranean! We have all these ingredients ('tis the season for an abundance of fresh pomegranate!). Can't wait to try it. Thanks!

PVH said...

This is a wonderful dish. The balance of the sweetness of the pomegranate juice and the lamb is eloquent. This was a perfect meal for a chilly SF night. I will definitely make this again. Thanks Phyllis

eXtreme said...

I wonder if u preheated the pan b4 searing the meat or just turned it on high and threw them in

Chef John said...

Preheat pan first!

Anonymous said...

Lovely Lovely Lovely .... my hubby loved it, made this for the first time today ..... I suprised myself ....thank you Chef

Jay Soma said...

Hi Chef John. You're my hero. I've tried many of your recipes over the years. This Friday I was looking for an elegant dish for my best friend's birthday. I settled on this one. What would you think of substituting port wine for honey? If you approve, how much port would you use, and would it be necessary to reduce it prior?

Chef John said...

Honey is much sweeter than port, so doesn't sound like a great switch to me. Could work, but wouldnt guess at amount. Good luck! Thanks!

Jay Soma said...

I know you're going to do a full video of the roasted pumpkin at a later date, any chance you could give me a quick run-down of the spices? Am going to make this tonight :)

Chef John said...

it was just salt and pepper and maybe a little cumin I think. enjoy!

Kelly said...

I died at the Kim Kardashian reference.

CPMMA said...

I love it. This is one of the few dinner meat recipes you do that I can cook in a kosher kitchen!

Maureen Bellare said...

Chef John, I wanted to know what you thought about roasted cauliflower and butternut squash as one side and maybe some goat cheese polenta? It would make for a pretty plate but would these flavors combine well with the lamb recipe?

Chef John said...

Sounds good to me!

Prospero said...

Burnt! I pride myself on following directions to the letter but I didn't completely seal the pot going into the oven. There was tiny steam hole in the lid which I tried to cover with aluminum foil. No luck. My lamb dried out.

The devil is indeed in the details.

Unknown said...

Hi, John. I made this today. Not sure if my Le Creuset dutch oven had a leak, but the quantity of sauce left at two hours was inadequate, certainly to reduce by half! (Using 5 lamb sirloin chops.) So I added another 2 cups pomegranate juice & 1/3 cup balsamic and boiled it down after removing the lamb. Still delicious, and I'm about to take it to neighbors to share.

Is there any reason why doubling the sauce in the first place (hence boiling down initially to 2-3 cups before oven) would damage the braising process? Thanks, Karen.

Chef John said...

Not fully clear on the question, but you can reduce any way you want, as long as the final sauce tastes good!

BTW, why the heck are you using sirloin chops?? You want shoulder chops, which are much better for brasing1 Also much cheaper!

Unknown said...

Clarification: Initial issue is 2 cups is not enough liquid. I recommend doubling pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar.

(My mistake: I did use shoulder, typo.--and it was delicious.)

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I disagree. It was perfect for me. You may need a tighter lid, as it seems you are losing too much liquid. Doubling would be too tart for many.