Slow Cooked Lamb with Farro and Spring Vegetables

Just in time to serve during Easter or any springtime supper, here is a one-pot slow-cooked lamb dish that includes a grain and a selection of vegetables that would otherwise appear as separate side dishes. While grilled or roasted whole butterflied leg of lamb makes an impressive choice for feeding a crowd and rack of lamb provides unrivaled elegance in presentation, chunks of boneless shoulder meat can yield a succulent braised alternative that is great for anything in between. It is a casual and much less expensive option, but one that is still refined enough to serve during a special occasion.

Slow Cooked Lamb with Farro and Spring Vegetables

Even though the total cooking time of this dish is about 2 hours, the bulk of it is largely hands-off. The cubed and browned lamb pieces are gently simmered in a mixture of fragrant ingredients that include sautéed shallots, fennel and garlic combined with red wine and chicken broth. This makes for a spring- rather than winter-appropriate rendition of lamb stew. There is no flour added for thickening (light and brothy is the name of the game here). While the carrots are appropriately tender in texture, the rest of the vegetables are added toward the very end of cooking so they retain their fresh, vibrant green qualities. After all, who likes biting into mushy snap peas? In lieu of potatoes, farro—a healthy whole grain—provides a toothsome source of starch to round out the dish and give it more staying power.

snap peas at farmers market

When shopping for the lamb, try to find boneless lamb shoulder and cut it into smaller pieces yourself. While generic “lamb stew meat” will also work, it often includes boneless leg meat, which won’t cook up quite as tender.

Proof that spring lamb doesn’t always have to be prepared with a garlic-herb crust or served with mint jelly, this dish offers colors, textures and complimentary flavors that work together in a simple, but beautiful manner. Try serving it at your next gathering. 

Don't Carrot Corners

Do not use bagged peeled baby snack carrots. If you cannot find fresh petite carrots, use standard-sized carrots: quarter them lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into 2 1/2- to 3-inch lengths. 

Ingredients

organic carrots

1 lb. boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. olive oil

8 oz. shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 cup dry red wine

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup farro

6 oz. petite carrots, peeled and trimmed

1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed green peas

6 oz. sugar snap peas (about 2 cups), trimmed

3 oz. bag baby spinach

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

When shopping for the lamb, try to find boneless lamb shoulder and cut it into smaller pieces yourself. While generic “lamb stew meat” will also work, it often includes boneless leg meat, which won’t cook up quite as tender.

 

Proof that spring lamb doesn’t always have to be prepared with a garlic-herb crust or served with mint jelly, this dish offers colors, textures and complimentary flavors that work together in a simple, but beautiful manner. Try serving it at your next gathering.

 

Cooking Instructions

bay leaves

1. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add the lamb and sear until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large plate.

3. Add the shallots to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme, bay leaves and wine and bring to a boil. Let cook until the wine has almost evaporated, about 1 minute.

4. Return the lamb to the pot, add the broth and 2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, 1 hour, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. Add the farro and carrots and cook, partially covered, 30 minutes.

5. Remove the bay leaves and thyme. Add the green peas and the snap peas and cook, covered, until the snap peas are tender-crisp, about 6 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.

6. Stir in the vinegar, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the parsley on top.

Serves 4.

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