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Published: Tuesday, 3/26/2002

Lamb Shoulder Braised with Tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder, cut into slices 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick


Freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped

2 bay leaves

Cook's Note: When The Blade tested this recipe, the butcher did not have a fresh lamb shoulder. Our recipe tester used pre-cut vacuum-sealed lamb shoulder steaks.

Heat the olive oil over high heat in a heavy braising pan that can accommodate the lamb snugly. When the oil is hot, brown half the lamb on both sides. Transfer it to a platter and repeat with the remaining lamb. Season with salt and pepper and remove the pan from the heat.

Chop the sage and rosemary and add to the pan along with the chopped garlic. Stir a few times and return the pan to high heat. As soon as the herbs start to sizzle, add the white wine. Let it reduce a little so that the alcohol evaporates, then add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Put the lamb back into the pan and reduce the heat so that the liquid is bubbling at a gentle but steady simmer; place the cover on the pan slightly askew. Cook, turning the meat every 15 to 20 minutes, until it becomes very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If the liquid in the pan evaporates before the meat is done, add a little water.

Transfer the lamb to a platter. If there is still too much liquid in the pan, raise the heat to reduce the sauce. Skim off any excess fat, pour the sauce over the meat, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Source: Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan

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