2½ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. lard or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 ounces pancetta, sliced into ¼ inch strips
kosher or sea salt
1 Tbsp. flour (optional – this will help to thicken and stabilize the sauce, but the recipe can be made successfully without it)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh sage
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup meat broth
1 farm fresh egg yolk
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Choose a heavy-bottomed high-sided skillet or Dutch oven, large enough to accommodate all of the lamb in a single layer. Add the lard or oil to the pan, along with the onion and pancetta, and cook, stirring, over a medium flame. When the onion has attained a deep golden color and the pancetta begins to brown, remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving behind most of the cooking fat, and increase the heat to medium-high.
- Season the lamb with salt and coat the meat lightly with the flour, if using. When the fat in the pan is hot, add the lamb and brown the meat on all sides. Once the meat is nicely browned, sprinkle in the chopped fresh rosemary and sage. Add a tiny grating of nutmeg & a liberal grinding of pepper, and stir the meat and seasonings together. Stir in the cooked onion-pancetta mixture. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Stir in the broth. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat so that the meat cooks at a slow simmer, placing a lid on the pan so that it is ¾ covered (leave the lid ajar).
- Cook the lamb for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it is fork-tender. If the sauce becomes too thick or dry, add a little water as needed. When the lamb is cooked, there should be enough sauce to generously coat each piece of meat.
- At this point, the tender lamb and its sauce can be finished and served, or allowed to cool and stored in the refrigerator to be finished at a later time. Remove any fat that has solidified on the surface and re-heat slowly, then proceed. If you have not refrigerated your pan-roast, just skim off some of the fat from the surface.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and lemon juice, adding a tablespoon of water. Remove the lamb from the heat and stir in the lemon mixture. The heat from the hot pan-roast should be sufficient to cook and thicken the egg yolk (be aware that the egg yolk is not thoroughly cooked, rather softly cooked, coating the meat as a sauce). You can warm the dish a bit over a low flame if desired. but keep in mind that if the sauce gets too hot, the egg will scramble. Fresh spring peas can be added, if available. Serve the lamb and its sauce at once.