BRAISED ROMAN-STYLE LAMB WITH HERBS + PEAS
TIME: 2 HOURS, PLUS AT LEAST 1 HOUR MARINATING
YIELD: 6 SERVINGS
Perfect for springtime, this ethereally tender lamb has an intense, heady sauce flecked with herbs and sweet green peas. The anchovies add a saline complexity but aren’t at all fishy. Plus, no one will know they are there if you don’t tell them. Serve this with something—bread, rice, polenta, or a spoon—to scoop up the sauce. It’s quite spectacular and you won’t want to miss a drop.
3½ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, well trimmed, cut into 2 pieces
9 garlic cloves: 3 finely grated, 6 left whole
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme (lemon thyme is particularly nice here), torn or cut into pieces
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, torn or cut into pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), or 1 large onion, diced
1 cup dry white wine
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
1 cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
Chopped fresh mint and/or more tarragon, for serving
- In a large bowl, toss the lamb with the grated garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme and rosemary sprigs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and preferably overnight.
- Brush the herbs off the lamb and reserve. Using the sauté function in the pressure cooker (or a skillet over high heat), heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once it is hot, add the lamb. Let it brown for 5 to 7 minutes per side, and then transfer the pieces to a plate.
- Add another tablespoon of the oil to the pot (or skillet). When it’s hot, add the leeks and sauté until golden, 3 to 5 minutes (if the pot gets too hot and you can’t lower the heat, turn it off for a few minutes and let the leeks cook in the residual heat to keep them from burning).
- Add the wine to the pot (or skillet) and simmer, scraping up the browned bits, until it has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the anchovies and red pepper flakes. Return the lamb and reserved herb sprigs to the pot, cover, and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a serving platter. Use a fat separator to separate the fat from the juices, or just spoon the fat off the top. Taste the sauce, and add more salt and/or a squeeze of lemon as needed. If the sauce is thin, use the sauté function to simmer it down.
- Stir in the peas and tarragon and simmer on the sauté function until peas are tender (1 to 2 minutes for frozen peas, 2 to 5 for fresh peas). Serve the lamb topped with scallions and mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
COOK IT SLOW
Cook the lamb on high for 5 to 7 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours, adding the peas during the last 5 minutes.