Roast Lamb with Artichokes and Lemons from bon appetit

Eze Village

While some of my most memorable meals have featured lamb – carre d’agneau at the Chàteau de La Chèvre d’Or in Eze Village springs to mind – I am not a huge fan of lamb.  Furthermore, I am rather picky on how the lamb is cooked:  I like the rack of lamb cooked medium rare and a lamb shoulder or a leg of lamb cooked well done.   Now Sheila considers me crazy and has tried to reform my eating habits for 40 years or so, but I have so few other vices that I believe she can cut me a little slack when it comes to lamb.

In any event, we had some guests over this weekend and Sheila decided to test her hand at a delightful new recipe from the latest bon appétit for roast lamb with artichokes.  While the artichokes are great, the lemons provide the perfect counter-balance to the rich flavor of the lamb.  We didn’t think the anchovy fillets oil added anything to the recipe and suggest doubling the amount of mint.  In any event, this recipe is delicious for those craving a different taste experience with lamb.  I reproduce the recipe from bon appétit:

 Roast Lamb with Artichokes and Lemons


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 5–7-lb. bone-in lamb shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, halved crosswise
  • 6 baby artichokes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained  (Gourmay recommends skipping these little beasties)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (Gourmay recommends doubling this)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt


View Step-by-Step Directions
  • Preheat oven to 325°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Generously season lamb on all sides with salt and pepper and cook, turning often, until well browned, 12–15 minutes. Transfer lamb and oil to a roasting pan.
  • Carefully add wine to skillet, scraping up browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups water and pour into roasting pan. Squeeze lemons over lamb; add to pan. Roast 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, remove tough dark outer leaves from artichokes. Using a serrated knife, trim 1” from top. Trim stems and remove tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Halve artichokes lengthwise. Toss to coat with pan juices and tuck under and around lamb. Roast, turning artichokes occasionally, until artichokes are tender and meat is falling off the bone, 1½–2 hours. (Remove artichokes if they become too soft before meat is done.)
  • Pulse oil, anchovies, garlic, parsley, mint, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth; season with salt.
  • When done, place lamb in a large bowl, then transfer artichokes, lemons, and garlic with a slotted spoon to bowl. Pour anchovy-herb oil over; tent with foil. Transfer pan juices to a glass measuring cup. Let sit a few minutes, then spoon off fat from surface. Serve lamb with artichoke mixture and pan juices.


Editor’s Note:  I see that Chèvre d’Or has 2 stars in the Michelin Guide.   I know they had at least one star when we spent a delightful lunch there in the early ’80s, but this restaurant/hotel is the “real deal.”   It should be on everyone’s “bucket list.”  I recommend cuisses de grenouille as a starter.

Roast Lamb Shoulder with a Hint of Smoke

When Thérèse gets bored, she cooks.  When I get bored or stressed, I eat.  You might say this is the perfect marriage if my girth is any measure of marital compatibility.

Prompted by David “Bogey” Pinson, we picked up the latest version of Bon Appétit (August, 2012) to review their recipe for Roast Lamb Shoulder.  Both Thérèse and I were mesmerized by the lovely photograph of someone chopping up the roast lamb.  It reminded us of weekend trips to the medieval town of  Pedraza (Spain) to eat their fabulous roasted lamb that was cooked with wood  in a clay oven.

Roast Lamb Shoulder from Bon Appetit

Mind you, I am not a big fan of lamb because so few people know how to butcher it properly.  Obviously, carré d’agneau most anywhere in France is delicious, but is hit or miss in most other countries.  Personally, I don’t like New Zealand lamb, which is apparently an opinion shared by the British.  Granted, a well-cooked leg of lamb is quite tasty, but it is hard to know if that “lamb” leg  is just another piece of mutton.

In case you want to stop reading now (and who wouldn’t after reading  that lame introduction):  THIS IS THE BEST LAMB I HAVE EVER EATEN!

After some prompting by “Bogey” Pinson, we decided to test the Roast Lamb Shoulder recipe for Nick “Photo Op” Baylis’ 40th birthday.   The only difference, was that we decided to add a “hint of smoke” by cold-smoking the lamb shoulder for about an hour on my Weber grill  before roasting (see below for instructions).  The result was simply delicious.

While the recipe couldn’t be easier, getting the “right” cut proved to be a bit more complicated.  Lamb shoulder is usually reserved for stew meat (Lamb Vindaloo comes to mind).  We eventually opted to special order the lamb shoulder from Tarry Market (Mario Batali’s and Joe Bastianich lovely store in Portchester, NY).   This was a wise decision.   Found below is the recipe from Bon Appétit reprinted in its entirety.  The cold smoking is optional.

Roast Lamb Should with a Hint of Smoke

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 6–7-lb. bone-in lamb shoulder, some fat still attached (1/8″–1/4″ thick)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • Lightly score fat on lamb in a crisscross pattern at 1″ intervals. Place lamb in a large roasting pan and season generously with salt and pepper, coating evenly on all sides. Sprinkle garlic and rosemary all over lamb and drizzle with oil and lemon juice.
  • Using your hands, rub marinade into meat, making sure it’s completely coated. Arrange fat side up in pan. Cover very tightly with foil and chill for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight (the lamb will develop more flavor the longer it marinates).
  • Cold-smoking (optional):  Cook down some charcoal briquettes or hardwood in a Weber (or covered grill) till the charcoal is well past its prime (mostly grey). Add apple or cherry wood chips that have been soaked in water for about 5 minutes. Adjust oxygen flow to keep temp around 200°  F.  You should have a lot of smoke (one or two handfuls of chips is more than enough). Smoke for no more than an hour. The smokiness can be adjusted by soaking the chips longer if less smoke taste is desired.
  • Preheat oven to 325°. Roast lamb, basting occasionally and adding water by 1/4-cupfuls if pan is dry, until meat is completely tender and pulling easily away from the bones, 4–4 1/2 hours (be sure to secure foil tightly around the roasting pan each time you finish basting the lamb).
  • Remove lamb from oven and uncover. Preheat broiler. Broil lamb, basting occasionally, until fat is golden brown and crisp, 5–7 minutes.
  • Transfer lamb to a serving platter. Spoon fat from surface of juices in pan; discard fat. Pour juices into a pitcher and serve alongside lamb.

Read More

When carving or pulling the lamb apart, make sure to remove the fat which comes apart in layers.  Together with the bone, you will lose about 1/3 to 1/2 of the weight.



Lamb Short Ribs: Baaaaaa . . . d Idea!

I have often held that the true test of a chef is to make simple and fresh ingredients taste great.  For this reason, I often will order beef short ribs (that much maligned and often tasteless and tough meat) if available on the menu to test a chef’s meddle.  The best short ribs I have ever eaten were served to me as a teenager in a cafeteria in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Note: Thérèse refers to this period in my life as BT or “before Thérèse” arguing that my taste buds had not fully evolved until after we began dating).

Recently, the only short ribs that can came close to that of my adolescent memory were short ribs cooked at Tabla restaurant in NYC.  Return visits to Tabla to recapture that “taste” were not successful.   Imagine my surprise, therefore, to find lamb short ribs at Mario Batali’s restaurant Lupa on a recent visit to the city.  Mario is a genius in the kitchen and I felt certain that I would be treated to something quite extraordinary.  Despite the well-founded caution of our waitress (“It is very fatty”), I couldn’t wait to try lamb short ribs for the first time.  Imagine my surprise to discover that the lamb short ribs cooked in reduced balsamic vinegar were practically inedible and quite horrid.  I’m convinced that even a starving lupa (i.e. she-wolf) would most likely take a pass.

Moral of the story:  Avoid lamb short ribs, because if Mario can’t handle it, it is unlikely that anyone else will.