This is one of those cold-weather meals that makes you feel ok about cold weather. The smell of the chops braising is such a beautiful prelude to the  experience of eating this rich, fall-apart meat, nestled in a sauce blend of vegetables, but be warned that the cooking time cannot be rushed, no matter how amazing this smells.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

How to Cook Lamb Shoulder Chops

Lamb shoulder chops can also be called arm or blade chops.  They are versatile in that they can be cooked quickly or slowly, both with delicious results.   They are quite economical – usually significantly less expensive than rib chops, but from a nearby cut. 

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

If you are cooking them in a fast recipe, keep an eye on them, as because they are thin they will cook quickly.  But then, in a braised lamb shoulder chop recipe like this, they will go from tough to call apart tender over that time.  If you want to read up a bit on braising, come over here!

The seasonings here are classic Mediterranean flavors, tomatoes, red wine, rosemary, thyme garlic….and the sauce that is created by the slow braise begs to be ladled over the tender meat atop a pile of mashed potatoes, or noodles (egg noodles are particularly great), or maybe a rice pilaf of sorts.  So be sure and make those, or some sort of starch to soak up the sauce.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

It may seem unusual that the zucchini is braised for so long with the meat in the cooking liquid, but it’s more than fine.  It definitely gets quite soft, but it fills out the sauce nicely, kind of thickening it.  And along with the mushrooms it removes the need for making a separate vegetable, which is always a nice thing.  Whatever the weather.  This whole thing is made in one skillet, which adds to the appeal.

I have also made the same meal with sweet potatoes in place of the zucchini and mushrooms in the actual winter weather, and it’s another delicious version.  My whole family went crazy for these chops in both versions.  I know I’ll keep going with this recipe, swapping in vegetables as they occur to me, and as they show up in the market.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

Braised Lamb Chops on Stovetop or Oven

This is a stovetop slow braised recipe, but you could also transfer it to a 300°F oven for the two hour cooking period, if you prefer to finishing braising it in the oven, and free up your range.  Also, I haven’t tried this with a slow cooker, but I’m betting it would be fabulous.  If you had to, you could maybe even skip the searing step for ease of execution (but don’t if you can help it).  

Don’t forget the parsley at the end.  This kind of slow braised dish really benefits for a last pop of fresh green.  One of the other little tricks I do often is to finish a dish with some chopped arugula, which serves the same purpose as parsley or another herb, but adds a peppery punch that I think is very welcome as a counterbalance to a rich dish.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

These slowly cooked lamb chops are fall apart tender. Cold weather, we’re ready for you.

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How to Make Mediterranean Braised Shoulder Lamb Chops

In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until everything is tender and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.  Scrape the mixture into a small bowl.

Add the chops to the same pan, season with salt and pepper and sear for about 4 minutes on each side until the chops are browned on both sides. Transfer the chops to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and then the mushrooms, zucchini, thyme and rosemary.  Sauté until the mushrooms give up their liquid, and that liquid evaporates and the vegetables become tender and slightly golden, about 7 minutes. 

Stir in the carrot and onion mixture.  

Add the red wine, stir to release and browned bit from the bottom and let it reduce by a little bit, about 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato sauce

Tuck the browned chops into the mixture.  Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium low, and let the liquid very gently simmer for 2 hours, until the meat is very, very tender, almost falling apart. 

Sprinkle the finished dish with the parsley. Serve the lamb chops with the pan sauce and vegetables over your choice of starch.

More Lamb Recipes to Try:

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

These slowly cooked lamb chops are fall apart tender and are nestled into a lovely vegetable studded red wine and tomato sauce.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 1 -inch thick lamb shoulder chops about 2 pounds total
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms such as button, cremini, shiitake
  • 1 cup diced zucchini or summer squash
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary crushed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes
  • Water or chicken broth as needed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  • In a
    , preferably cast iron, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until everything is tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Scrape the mixture into a small bowl.
  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper on both sides.  Give the skillet a quick wipe with a paper towel (be careful; that skillet is hot!), and return the skillet to the heat. Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil, make sure the pan is very hot, then add the chops and sear for about 4 minutes on each side until the chops are browned on both sides. Transfer the chops to a plate.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and then the mushrooms, zucchini, thyme and rosemary.  Sauté until the mushrooms give up their liquid, and that liquid evaporates and the vegetables become tender and slightly golden, about 7 minutes. 
  • Stir in the carrot and onion mixture.   Add the red wine, stir to release and browned bit from the bottom and let it reduce by a little bit, about 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato sauce and tuck the browned chops into the mixture.  Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium low, and let the liquid very gently simmer for 2 hours, until the meat is very, very tender, almost falling apart.  Check periodically to make sure there is still liquid in the skillet, and add a bit of water or broth if necessary.
  • Sprinkle the finished dish with the parsley. Serve the lamb chops with the pan sauce over your choice of starch.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 1391mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 10701IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 7mg

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