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. 

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!

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

How Long to Cook Lamb Shoulder Chops

Once you sear up the chops, which is recommended for best flavor and outer texture, you will want to cover the pan, 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.

Mediterranean Lamb Shoulder Chops

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.

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.

Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

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.

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.

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

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. Without a doubt, one of the best dinners I’ve ever made! The flavors had my husband and I saying “Wow!” the whole meal through. The only change I made was to skip the garlic. It wasn’t necessary and I always get a bellyache.

  2. I added a little herbes de provence, which upped the flavor. I also served it over couscous, which worked wonderfully!

  3. Awesome!! Adapts well to changes. Used canned fire roast tomatoes, canned mushroom and subed a yellow pepper for the zucchini as that what I had on hand. Beautiful. Keep the mashed potatoes simple as the sauce is rich. I like braising in the oven. 325 for 2 hours.

  4. I had a couple of lamb shoulder chops in my freezer and didn’t know what to do with them. Glad I found your site. This was so yummy and will make it again. The meat turned out perfectly tender and luscious with lots of sauce to pour over rice. Next time I’ll make it with potatoes or egg noodles.

  5. Made this for the first time tonight, opting to put it in a pan in the oven for the 2 hours of slow cooking, and it came out perfect! We had four chops and stuck the recipe as written. It turned out pull-apart tender, flavourful and there was lots of veggie sauce to go around. We served it with mashed potatoes and tossed Greek salad and it was absolutely perfect! This recipe is definitely going into our “keeper” file to be made again and again – wouldn’t change a single thing!

  6. It’s about food,idiots! Healthy, save lives save the planet FOOD. Its’ delicious, one of the finest I’ve come across on line. Lamb is the source for for Europe, and thence north America; let;s enjoy it as our grand parents did.

  7. Wow the flavors explode! I didn’t have zucchini so I added some eggplant, red peppers with the carrots, mushrooms, onions, etc. Also added oregano, bay leaf, fresh rosemary & green olives. I did in cast iron skillet and braised in the oven. Served over egg noodles. Delicious! I will definitely make again.

  8. Awesome recipe, Katie! With the lamb shoulder, it tastes like it cooked for days instead of hours. I was surprised, but you were right – the zucchini stood up to the long cooking time and was great in the stew. I added a bit of red and orange bell pepper, plus a couple bay leaves and oregano. Terrific recipe, thanks!

    1. I had some shoulder steaks in the freezer that came in a box of lamb cuts from last summer. I tried this recipe since I had everything I needed in the fridge and pantry. Huge hit tonight, I will definitely make this again.

  9. Made it tonight and it came out so well. Switched out the zucchini for radishes and added some turnips because I didnt have enough carrots but was still amazing!

  10. I’m with you on the climate warming and don’t consider that politics.
    But anyone who didn’t cook this because they did think so has really lost out. I made it last night (left out mushrooms as I didn’t have any) and it was absolutely delicious, stunningly so.
    I will be making it again–and again–and again.
    Thanks and be well

    Daniel Boyarin

  11. Just tried the recipe – really good.

    And keep up with the comments on climate change. Politics is mostly opinion which shouldn’t be confused with scientific facts.

  12. I’m curious about translating this to a slow cooker recipe. If I seared the chops and then put everything else in the slow cooker, could I cook like a roast, 3-4 hrs on high or 6-8 on low? Thanks!

    1. Lise I’m going to do this today. This by far looks like the best recipe I’ve searched for. I have 3 shoulder chops from a lamb my friends raised and I helped butcher. Salt Fat Acid Heat recommends seasoning WAY in advance (sp) even the night before. But I just did mine now and will marinate when I get ingredients together! I am playing tennis 6-8 so don’t want to feed my family at 10 (or eat before) ;). Hope yours turned out great.
      And, Katie, climate change is REAL. SCIENCE is REAL.

  13. I’m sorry that people have not tried your recipe because of your seemingly political views. Personally, I don’t think that the climate should ever have become a political thing. While I may, and do, disagree that climate change is a result of, or can be changed, by human activity, it has nothing to do, IMHO, with food.

    That said, I can’t wait to try this which I will do on Monday. My butcher was selling the Lamb shoulder chops for a steal, and I bought some last week and froze them. Just have to pick up some red wine and fresh parsley. I like a nice cab for recipes calling for red wine.

    I just made a nice roasted veggie wellington, and have a lot of leftover phyllo dough, and thought I’d make a spanikopita side dish.

    I can’t wait to try this!

    Regarding the climate, can our politicians agree to disagree on the cause, and work together more to find how to deal with it, whether we can change it or not? How did our ancestors, prehistoric and otherwise, deal with the changing climate, which has gone on for the millennia?

    1. Joyce, thanks so much for writing — and I hope you like the lamb! Re: climate change and food and politics, I wish they didn’t feel so related so much of the time, but I think they are pretty intertwined. Having said that I respect other people’s right to have their opinions, and if my opinion means that some folks don’t want to make my lamb chops, well, I certainly won’t be offended. I hope yours come out gorgeously!

      1. I am most eager to try this recipe—my husband and I will love it. We’ll have to wait, though, because our home was mostly destroyed in a ravaging fire here in Oregon. My pots and pans, my spices, my freezer full of just-purchased lamb (and other good, local meat): Gone. Our beautiful, lush green valley in the rainforest burned ferociously. Thirty miles of burn. Seven hundred + houses burned to the ground and thousands homeless. Why? Because of global climate change. And, by the way, this isn’t a political message to all of you giving Katie Workman a hard time for her views. It’s science. It’s fact. Our forest has suffered from climate-change related drought for years. The highly unusual 70 mph winds are a result of climate change. It doesn’t matter, folks, if you believe in it. Take it from someone who was jarred awake by a firefighter and told that my husband and I had only minutes to escape with our life: it’s coming to a neighborhood near you.

        1. Debra, I am so sorry. I cannot imagine what you are going through. If you email me through the site with your address I would love to send you a roasting pan or skillet, whichever you prefer to help you restart your kitchen, wherever you are at the moment. I am watching the news of the wildfires with my heart in my throat, and just send love to you and your family during this unthinkable time.

  14. Interesting recipe but was at first confused then turned off by your comments on climate so I chose another recipe that was posted without political opinions. Yes, the science of climate has been politicized.

    1. yes, well, sometimes I serve up a small garnish of politics with the recipes – and if we need to disagree to disagree, that’s ok!

  15. I stopped by your site to see this lamb recipe, I will stay for the politics.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, oh and the recipes.

  16. The recipe looks tasty, but it’s tiring to see political junk inserted where political junk shouldn’t be inserted.

  17. Another would-be reader turned off by the politics. Of course you are entitled to write whatever you want – it’s your blog. But a lot of people – from every point on the political spectrum – are just so sick and tired of politics infecting anything and everything. A food blog should be a safe escape from politics…

  18. Global warming? It’s -25 degrees here in the great white north. Coldest winter in the midwest in years – in fact they say a generation. I’m not sure how that qualifies as warming. You had me willing to try this recipe until you turned it into a political jab. Which you didn’t have to. Recipe blogs should be a political free zone and a wonderful escape and inspiration for unordinary dinners. At least that is why I read them. I’ll stick to my tried and true recipe for lamb. Good luck to you.

  19. Don’t have wine and don’t use to put alcohol on food but… even without that one ingredient, it was really lovely dish. Brilliant recipes and my daughter was eating fast with plain rice… we are Indonesian and pretty much have rice with everything.

  20. This is a classic recipe, and your proportions are excellent. My small tweak was to caramelize red onions at the front end, with a pinch of sugar and salt, then add the carrots and garlic. I used two cups of diced zucchini because that’s in season at the moment. And as a nod to Lidia Bastianich, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes. Absolutely wonderful!

  21. Would have posted this on FB, but being a New Yorker, you just had to get your politics in there! Too sad!

    1. well, this blog is definitely about food, but it also includes pieces of my life and my opinions — I’m sorry if this little statement offended you.

  22. Have you tried this with winter squash or pumpkin, since you mentioned you’ve done it with sweet potatoes? How key is the tomato or acidity to the final dish?

    I love lamb but if I can sub lemon for tomato, I will do so to reduce FODMAPs.

    1. I’m sure lemon would be nice, but won’t replace the bulk that the tomatoes add. And yes I’m sure you could use squash in place of the potatoes, and that would be fine. I’m no expert on the FODMAP diet, but I think you should play and modify and hopefully come up with your own great braised lamb shoulder shop dish!

  23. This is the second time I am making this recipe, my husband liked it so much he asked for it. As this type of lamb is pretty affordable it is great to have a good recipe. I can’t eat onions and garlic, so I used garlic olive oil in place of olive oil. I can’t eat mushrooms so we used the sweet potato variation. The rest was the same. Here, lamb shoulder shops are thinner, so we used two huge thinner ones and they did not have to cook as long. With potatoes and a green leafy vegetable this is a delicious dish. It might even please non lamb eaters. Thanks for the great recipe.

  24. Thank you so much for this! I have a lot of mediterranean/jewish cookbooks but have no lamb recipe this flavorful. I added turmeric to this recipe and used tomato paste instead of sauce, it worked great.

  25. I’m wondering if I can adapt to use this recipe for leg of lamb?
    The flavor was incredible but I don’t have chops right now.

  26. This recipe is out of control amazing! It is so good I can’t even explain it! My boyfriend was so impressed and I cook and cook good and a lot but your recipe took me to another level. Thanks for sharing.

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