How to Cook Lamb Chuck

Roast Lamb in Pan with Onions

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Lamb chuck, commonly referred to as lamb shoulder, comes from the same general area as beef chuck does; hence the name, but you don't have to braise it like you do beef. Lamb chuck doesn't need much cooking liquid, only enough to create steam and give you something to baste with; and it doesn't need a deluge of herbs and spices, either, just a few carefully chosen ones to accent its sweet, mild taste. Try to get lamb chuck from a spring lamb whenever possible for the most tender meat available.

Take the lamb chuck roast out of the refrigerator 1 hour before you cook it and trim it of any loose pieces of fat or cartilage. Cut a 1/2-inch crosshatched pattern 1/4-inch-deep in the fat side of the roast.

Pat the lamb dry and season it with about 1/4 inch of kosher salt all over. After you salt the lamb, place it in a shallow dish on top of a few paper towels and let it sit at room temperature for the remainder of the hour.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrape off the salt with a spoon or knife and rub a generous slathering of oil all over the lamb.

Season the lamb chuck with freshly cracked black pepper, if desired, and place it in a roasting pan.

Pour about a cup or 2 of stock or wine into the roasting pan to generate just a touch of steam during cooking. Lamb chuck is fatty and tender, so it doesn't need a lot of liquid to tenderize it like beef chuck does.

Add some fresh herb sprigs to the pan. Use only 1 or 2 whole, fresh herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, nothing too overpowering. Cover the roasting pan with the lid or cover it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and pop it in the oven.

Baste the lamb every 30 to 45 minutes with the pan drippings. Roast the lamb until fork tender, or for about 4 hours.

Slide the oven rack out and take the lid or foil off. Crank the oven up to Broil and slide the lamb back in.

Broil the lamb until the outside is crackling and golden brown, about 5 or 6 minutes, and take it out. Transfer the lamb chuck to a plate and cover it loosely with foil.

Let the lamb chuck rest a full 30 minutes. Use the resting time to make a quick gravy with the unctuous drippings in the roasting pan.

Skim as much fat as you can from the pan drippings to start the gravy. Next, place the roasting pan directly on a stove burner and set it to medium-high.

Roll a tablespoon of flour and butter into a ball while the pan juices start to simmer. Tear off pieces of flour and butter and add it to the pan juices, whisking each piece in before adding the next. Simmer the pan juices until they thicken into a gravy and coat the back of a spoon, or about 15 minutes.

Slice the lamb chuck roast across the grain into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices and serve it with the gravy.