’Tis the season for winter beers. With bold spices and high alcohol content, winter warmers are the perfect antidote to frigid weather. It turns out they also make the perfect base for a braising liquid for gamier meats like lamb.
For lamb shoulder, our winter beer of choice is Adoration from Brewery Ommegang. Adoration is brewed with a spice cabinet’s worth of big, bold flavors: coriander, orange peel, mace, cardamom, and grains of paradise. Because all of these spices are great for cooking lamb and other game meats, Adoration is the perfect seasonal for a wintry beer braise. We also added a few smoked peppercorns and cardamom pods to the braising liquid to make the flavors even more robust.
This is a big, hearty meal for a cold winter night.
Beer-Braised Leg of Lamb
1 lamb leg, de-boned and trussed
1 bottle Adoration by Brewery Ommegang (or similar winter ale)
1 bottle Mexican Coca-Cola
32 ounces beef stock
5 carrots, roughly chopped
5 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
10 white button mushrooms, chopped in half
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon peppercorns
3 cardamom pods (optional)
Freshly-cracked black pepper
Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
Cover the lamb in salt and pepper and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Warm a dutch oven over medium heat. When heated, cover the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil and sear the lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the lamb once it’s been browned.
Deglaze the dutch oven with the beer, scraping the browned bits off the bottom. Add the Coca-Cola and all of the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Return the lamb to the dutch oven, placing it back in the braising liquid and add enough water to make sure that 90% of the lamb is covered.
Cover, and cook in the oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the lamb meat is shreddable.
Serve with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and Adoration.