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

In this Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops, recipes the featureed ingredients are tomatoes, red wine, rosemary, thyme and garlic. 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

How to Cook Lamb Shoulder Chops

Lamb shoulder chops can also be called arm or blade chops. They are bigger than rib or loin lamb chops, and because they have more fat and connective tissues, so they are tougher than other lamb chop cuts. Braising them is a terrific cooking method to ensure tender chops.

Lamb shoulder chops 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.  They are deeply flavorful.

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 fall apart tender over that time.  If you want to read up a bit on braising, come over here!

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

How Long to Cook Lamb Shoulder Chops

Sear up the chops, which is recommended for best flavor and outer texture, you will want to cover the pan, then lower the heat to medium low, and let everything simmer for about 2 hours. You’ll know the chops are done when they are very, very tender, with the meat practically falling off the bone.

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. This whole recipe is made in one skillet, which adds to the appeal.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

Variations

I have also made the same meal with sweet potatoes in place of the zucchini and mushrooms, 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.

Lamb Shoulder Chop Recipe

This is a stovetop slow braised recipe, but you could also transfer it to a 300 degree 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 Lamb Shoulder 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.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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. 

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

Stir in the carrot and onion mixture.  

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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. 

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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

What to Serve with Lamb Shoulder Chops:

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

More Lamb Recipes to Try:

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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
Diet: Gluten Free

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 large skillet, 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

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Comments

  1. Delicious! I made a triple batch in a large cast iron casserole for a family gathering and everyone loved it. I used a cast iron skillet to braise the chops while saute veggies in the casserole to save time. I added zest of lemon with the veggies and the juice at the end. Felt it needed that little bit of acidity to cut through the richness. I’ll definitely add this to my recipe collection. Thanks Katie!

  2. Question the red wine in this recipe… Is it a cooking wine or regular red wine I am hoping for a fast response I am making this tomorrow night !!! Will post pics and let you know how it turns out it looks delicious and I will refer to your site for all future recipes
    Sincerely,
    Matthew Gardner

      1. Never buy cooking wine. Buy a wine you would actually drink, and then enjoy the rest of the bottle with the meal.

  3. I bought this cut not knowing what I’ll be able to do with it. I know my husband and I love lamb, so I looked for a recipe that I thought we’d enjoy. Thanks so much for your recipe. I made it and we both loved it so very much. Will do it again. Thanks so very much for your recipe.

  4. Very tasty I ended up adding 1/4 tsp of ground up cloves and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon right before I started simmering for 2 hours. The aroma was heavenly and reminding me of a kokkinisto dish I would always order from my local Greek restaurant in Chicago.
    I also left the wine to cook a little longer so it was a little thicker.

  5. Hello Katie,
    I am so glad to have found your recipe. I had bought shoulder lamb chops but didn’t know how to cook them and once I read your recipe I had to try it. I did everything as you indicated but used my Moroccan tagine seasoning and then placed everything in the crock pot and this turned out to be a fantastic delicious meal, which my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed.

    Thank you so much.
    Jeannette

  6. The lamb used for this is VERY fatty, so after it was cooked I put it in a large bowl and placed it in the refrigerator, smashing down the chops so the fat would accumulate on top. The next morning I scooped the fat off the top. (I saved it for cooking vegetables.) I also cut away the gristle and fat, since this is more of a stew and messy to do it at the table.
    The flavor was excellent. I also cooked some horta (greens with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice) on the side, and a serving of riced cauliflower for my low carb meal.

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