red wine braised lamb ragout

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Red Wine-Braised Lamb Ragout with Creamy Polenta and Salsa Verde

From the Dustin Clark collection by
Total Time 2 days

Culinate editor’s note: This uncomplicated recipe, by Dustin Clark of Wildwood Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, was created in honor of the 2010 Indie Wine Festival, a not-to-miss Portland wine event showcasing 40 small wineries (Saturday, May 8, 2010).


The ragout is best when cooked the day before you plan to serve it.



4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lamb shoulder, trimmed and diced
2 cups rich lamb stock or chicken stock
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. thyme leaves, chopped
1 small piece orange peel
1 cup full-bodied red wine
~ Salt and pepper to taste

Salsa verde

1 anchovy fillet, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. capers, chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice


3 cups chicken stock
~ Salt to taste
¾ cup coarse polenta
2 Tbsp. mascarpone
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. Make the ragout: In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the lamb generously with salt and black pepper. Brown the lamb in small batches over medium-high heat. Once all the meat is browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the diced vegetables. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, and orange peel. Pour in the wine and reduce until it glazes the vegetables. Add the reserved lamb and pour the hot stock over.
  4. Cover and cook in the oven until fork-tender, 2 hours or longer.
  5. Allow the ragout to rest, preferably overnight or at least 2 hours. To serve, coarsely shred the meat with a fork, rewarm, and season as needed.
  6. Make the salsa verde: An hour before serving the ragout, combine all the salsa verde ingredients and let macerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Make the polenta: While the salsa verde is macerating, make the polenta. Bring the stock to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add salt to taste, then pour in the polenta while whisking quickly to avoid clumps. Lower the heat and continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients and season to taste.
  8. Assemble the dish: Place a portion of polenta on a plate, ladle a serving of ragout on top, and garnish with the salsa verde.
red wine braised lamb ragout

This content is from the Dustin Clark collection.

There are 4 comments on this item
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0% recommend this recipe
1. by anonymous on May 5, 2010 at 1:11 PM PDT

Since this was created for a wine fest, I’d love to know what the chef would have paired it with. I think it would be great with Syrah or a big Italian red, but some chef suggestions would be awesome!

2. by anonymous on May 5, 2010 at 5:02 PM PDT

Here’s what Chef Dustin Clark had to say about the wine pairing:
“The Portland Indie Wine Festival shows a lot of Oregon pinot noirs, and this dish is very pinot friendly. I’d look for one that has deep leather and mushroom undertones, and does not have overpowering fruit up front or is too acidic.”
The festival staff recommends this ‘Indie’ wine: Le Cadeau's 2007 Cote Estate Pinot Noir

3. by Teno1010 on May 8, 2010 at 11:44 AM PDT

Please tell me what size the dice is for the lamb. I generally feel that the word dice would mean small, not cubed. Are the vegetables the same size as the lamb?

4. by Teno1010 on May 8, 2010 at 11:48 AM PDT

one more question about the polenta. Is coarse polenta different than stone ground cornmeal.

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