Is This the Best Autumn Lamb Recipe?

Rochelle Bilow

Braised lamb is always good. But this version? This baby is lacquered with a tangy, sweet, and spiced sauce made from white wine (a whole cup of it), autumnal cinnamon sticks, and—secret weapon time—pomegranate molasses. Oh yeah. You’re into it.

Lamb shoulder has great fat content and rich (not gamey) flavor, which makes it ideal for this sweetly spiced, Mediterranean-inspired braise.


  • 3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 8 pieces

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 orange (with peel), cut into pieces

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 14.5-oz. can peeled whole tomatoes

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)

  • Cucumber-Dill Tzatziki and Three-Herb and Red Onion Salad (for serving)

  • Westward Pita Bread or store-bought pita bread


Heat oven to 325°. Pat lamb dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Cook lamb, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Add fennel, onion, and garlic to same pot and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and softened, 6–8 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, 6–8 minutes.

Add orange, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, tomatoes, and broth along with lamb to pot. Bring to a simmer, cover pot, and transfer to oven. Braise until lamb is fork-tender, 1½–2 hours. Transfer lamb to a clean plate.

Strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; return to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick and velvety, 20–30 minutes.

Stir in pomegranate molasses, if using, and return lamb to pot and cook, stirring to coat, until heated through. Serve lamb with Cucumber-Dill Tzatziki, Three-Herb and Red Onion Salad, and Westward Pita Bread.

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