My mother made this awesome braised lamb for Passover dinner one year and it was easily one of the best things she’s made in a long time – which is saying a lot, considering how good a cook she is. She passed the recipe on to me without attribution, so I don’t know where it came from originally. We’ve tweaked some of the proportions to suit our tastes.

This dish is great for dinner parties, since it doesn’t need a lot of last minute prep work. It’s very rich; any sides you serve with it should be fairly straightforward so that you don’t put your guests into a massive food coma. The last time we made it, we serves some simple roasted potatoes and winter squash as a side dish, plus a full-bodied Pinot Noir. A good time was had by all.


About 3 1/2 pounds of boned lamb (shoulder or leg), rolled and tied
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup washed and finely chopped whole leeks
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken or veal stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 sprigs fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
2 whole scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: Sprigs of parsley for garnish


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Sprinkle all sides of the lamb with salt and pepper to taste. The lamb should have decent coverage, but don’t go overboard. You can always add more salt and pepper later if needed.

In an oven-safe casserole dish that’s large enough to hold the lamb, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the lamb on all sides; it should take at least 15 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and leeks to the casserole and sauté over medium-low heat until tender and just turning golden, then add the garlic.

Return the lamb to the casserole and add the stock, wine, lemon juice, tarragon and scallions. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven.

Cook the lamb for 5 hours; by then it should be extremely tender. Remove the lamb from the casserole and set aside.

Strain the sauce into a heavy saucepan. Skim off as much fat as possible. Place the solids in a blender or food processor along with 1 tablespoon of the minced parsley. Puree, adding a little of the liquid if necessary. Add this puree back to the sauce, reheat and check seasonings.

Remove the strings from the lamb. Slice the roast down the middle the long way, and then slice each half into serving-sized slices or chunks. Place the meat into a large bowl or platter; pour half the sauce over the lamb and the rest of the sauce into a gravy bowl. Sprinkle the remaining minced parsley over the top and serve.

Serves 6 to 8 people.


  • Lamb can be fatty, so don’t skimp on skimming the fat or it can make the sauce turn out a little too greasy.
  • This dish can be prepared a day in advance, refrigerated overnight, and reheated before serving without affecting the flavor.