Recipes > Portuguese Lamb in Red Wine

Portuguese Lamb In Red Wine


Braised in red wine, this mild and rustic lamb dish takes 5 minutes to put together.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 6 hrs 30 mins
  • Views: 63,822
  • Success Rating: 96% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Marinating the Meat

Marinating the Meat
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 6 lamb shoulder chops (1 1/2" -inches thick)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) full-bodied red wine


To marinate the lamb, first dice the onion and smash the garlic. Gather the bay leaves and paprika.

Using a large Dutch oven, place 2 cloves of garlic and 2 bay leaves on the bottom of the pot and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the onion. Set half of the lamb shoulder chops into the pot, making sure the layer is somewhat snug. Season generously with salt, freshly cracked pepper, and half of the paprika. Add a bit more garlic and bay leaves, and another 1/3 of the onion. Place the remaining chops on top and season again with salt, pepper and the remaining paprika. To finish, pour in red wine to cover, pushing the chops down into the liquid if needed.

Cover and let marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

Step 2: Cooking the Lamb

Cooking the Lamb
  • 2 large pieces orange zest
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (approx.)
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley


To cook the dish, preheat your oven to 400º degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove two large pieces of zest from an orange and trim off any of the bitter, white pith. Add the zest to the pot and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Submerge the parsley into the liquid, cover the pot and place into the oven.

Braise for at least three hours, until the meat is fork tender.

Step 3: Checking the Lamb and Serving

Checking the Lamb and Serving


To check if the lamb is done, the meat should easily fall off of the bone. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for an additional half an hour or so, and check again.

Once the lamb is cooked, you can serve it with the sauce as is. To remove excess fat from the sauce, remove the pieces of meat and pour the sauce into a fat separator.

Alternatively, you can cool the sauce then refrigerate it. Once the fat hardens, you can easily remove it from the surface. Just reheat the meat and fat-free sauce and serve. Either way it’s up to you.

This rustic dish is excellent served over your favorite pasta and alongside a nice big salad.

Chef's Notes

This is the perfect dish to make for a dinner party. It can even be made the day before, whether it’s for 2 people or a small group. Cooking times will vary, but it is a very simple dish to put together.


  • Chuck F
    Chuck F
    This recipe looks fantastic. I can't wait to try it.
  • Mary-anne D
    Mary-anne D
    Piri-piri are wonderful Portugese peppers, not hot perhaps a 30,000 to 50,000 scoville units, but have a wonderful flavour.
  • Kevin W
    Kevin W
    I just made a similar recipe with beef short ribs that cooked in the dutch oven for 7 hours. They were so tender and the final sauce was outstanding. I am going to try this one with lamb next week.
  • Aaron W
    Aaron W
    What's a good wine to use for braising? Would a Madeira be too much?
  • Patrick O
    Patrick O
    Madeira, along with Marsala, Sherry, Vermouth, and Port are all fortified wines. Fortified wine is wine in which additional alcohol has been added, the most common additive being brandy. The end result is a fuller, richer, tasting wine with higher alcohol. Personally, I've used fortified wine in recipes (see my Osso Bucco recipe in the test kitchen) with great success and I usually reduce the quantity by about a third if standard red wine is called for. However, since the Portuguese Lamb in Red Wine recipe consists of wine only (no stock or broth), and due the large quantity required, I wouldn't use a fortified wine for this application as it would be too intense and dominate the other flavours. What you would want to use is a medium bodied red wine with decent acidity. The acid will tenderize the Lamb and add a nice balance to the flavours. Best suggestions include a Chianti, Rioja, or Pinot Noir and stay away from the big fruit bomb new world Cabernets and Shiraz. Also, use a decent quality product. My rule of thumb is "if I can't drink it, I won't cook with it". Another thing, if you want to keep this dish truly regional, us a Portuguese red wine from Dão or Douro. They can offer great value so you can buy 3 bottles, 2 for the Braise, and 1 to drink with the meal. Good luck and let us all know how you make out!
  • John F
    John F
    Why would you not sear the meat first? Is there a reason for that? Wouldnt you just be adding another layer of flavour if you did that?
  • Joe G
    Joe G
    You could certainly sear the meat first and yes, this caramelization would add some additional flavor to the dish. This recipe was adapted from a classic portuguese recipe - one that is quick, simple and delicious. Searing adds a bit more work but as with many recipes, feel free to adapt. This is a great idea.
  • Sharon W
    Sharon W
    I just got some lamb, dident now that to do with it, but like. now i can make it up.
  • Joe G
    Joe G
    Keep in mind Sharon that this recipe is for tougher cuts of lamb like shoulder chops or lamb leg. As you will learn in the cooking school, for tougher cuts, you use a moist heat method of cooking and cook for a much longer period of time. Just wanted to make sure that you weren't going to use a lamb rack or loin here as this would be best made using another cooking method. Cheers, Joe
  • Aaron W
    Aaron W
    Everything turned out great, I wound up using a Chianti and the sauce tasted marvelous. This is a great, easy entree for a lazy Sunday dinner.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    I can still taste how delicious it was. Went to a friends house for dinner last night and they made this lamb. It was really so good. They served it with the gnocchi which went very nicely.
  • Charlie  H
    Charlie H
    Well I have ad this twice in the past week and I love it. Easy and so good, it really takes no time and the end result is a rich, tender dinner that your friends and family will love. I served it with gnocchi but next time will try a lighter pasta. I took the advice of one of the members about picking the right wine - all I have to say is good advice. If you can't drink it for dinner don't cook with it - spend that little bit more to get that nice bottle of wine - cheers
  • Sean L
    Sean L
    I prepared this recipe the night before, stuck it in fridge, and skimmed off the fat in the morning. About an hour before serving, I added some extra beef stock and put it on the stove over medium heat to warm up/reduce. This was killer served with the Rouxbe Moroccan Couscous, a watermelon-mint-feta sald, and champagne gelee with strawberries for dessert. Absolutely delicious, thank you!
  • Donald D
    Donald D
    An absolutely amazing marriage of a tough cut of lamb, onion, & wine, transformed into a rich, mellow sauce and melt in your mouth lamb. Served over fresh cavatelli pasta, surrounded by vegetables made for a perfect meal. Thank you 'Rouxbe'..
  • Alex S
    Alex S
    Hello! Here's a question about the amount of lamb shoulder which maybe seems a bit odd: in the recipe there's only a fragmentary information about the amount of lamb... As I'm not used to the U.S. customary units but only to the metric system, I'm not so sure about how much lamb is actually needed to serve 6. Does "(1 1/2" mean one and a half lamb shoulders? Or is it really 1.5 lbs (i.e. about 750 grams)? Honestly, that does not seem to be enough to serve 6 (~110 g per serving) at a dinner party (at least when the the lamb and not the pasta should play the leading part...) I'd rather prepare around 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) instead for six servings (making a serving of 250 g - which still seems a bit, hm..., how to put it, not very generous). Or am I competely wrong and just way too hungry? Thanks for any help! =D
  • Joe G
    Joe G
    First of all, this should have read 1 1/2 inch thick lamb shoulder chops (I've corrected the recipe). Your butcher will be able to cut them like this for you if you ask. Most lamb shoulders are about the same size (given the size of the animal). 6 chops should be okay for four people, leaving a bit for 2nds or a good size portion for 4. It will also depend on how many courses you are serving at your dinner party. Because the shoulder chop contains quite a bit of bone, I'd suggest 7 to 8 oz (about 200 grams per person). Hope this helps.
  • Emily C
    Emily C
    I have some smoked paprika and some "plain" paprika. My store didn't have "sweet" paprika. What should I use??
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    This is a good question. Really you can do either, I prefer "plain" or "sweet" but there are others that just love the smell and taste of "smoked" paprika. When I do use smoked paprika, I tend to use only a bit, and I use it along with some plain paprika to balance it out. If you already know that you love smoked paprika, I say go ahead and use either that, or a bit of both. If you don't know if you like the smoked paprika, open up the can and smell it. If it smells delicious to you, then you will likely be okay to use some of it. If however the smell is too strong then I suggest using just regular or just a touch of the smoked. Wow! I am ever going on hey! I guess you get the point :-) Good Luck, hope this helps! p.s. Let me know what you decided to use, and how you like it!
  • Emily B
    Emily B
    I have a cast iron dutch oven. Will this work, or do I need an enamel coated pot like the video shows? Also, I have Hungarian paprika. I think this will be OK, right?
  • Joe G
    Joe G
    And the Hungarian Paprika will work too. Good Luck. Let us know what you think.
  • Sharon T
    Sharon T
    could you do this recipe with a boneless leg of lamb?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    I don't see why not. Of course the cooking time would be a bit longer and you may need a bit more liquid, but I am sure it would be good. It would really be more like cooking a pot roast which is essentially the same thing. Just cover the meat about 1/2 way up the meat and then turn it at least 3 or 4 times during cooking. For more info on combination cooking, braising, stewing and pot roasting you can check out the cooking school. Here is a link to the pot roasting lesson - Hope this helps!
  • Christie C
    Christie C
    I'm going to attempt this delicious-looking recipe tonight! But I don't have a dutch oven, only a crock pot. Is there anything that I need to change with the recipe so that it works in a crock pot? Can I assume everything is the same? Thanks!
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    A crock pot will work but the cooking time will likely be substantially longer due to the lower heat. Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
  • Rodrigo C
    Rodrigo C
    It's really easy to make and very rich. I used lamb leg, as the butcher didn't have lamb shoulder. Maybe my French oven is larger than the one used in this recipe, because 3 pounds of meat were enough for one very snug layer. One bottle of wine (cabernet sauvignon), minus an obligatory sip, was enough to cover it. I started doing it at 6 pm, therefore I used a jaccard to tenderize the meat. I left it marinating for 2 hours and after 2 more hours in the oven, it was really fork tender. When you recommended to use salt and pepper generously, you were not kidding. I could have used a bit more, as I use kosher salt, which is not very strong. Maybe some mild pepper would give it an edge too. I served with rice, which I made adding culinary lavender, a wonderful perfume that didn't get obscured by the lamb. All in all, a very easy and satisfying dish. I might try it with different kinds of meat, like beef.
  • Francois G
    Francois G
    I have a Portuguese themed dinner next week so this is going to be perfect. I do have 2 questions though: - I have a half leg of lamb in the freezer so I plan to use that. Should I cut it in 1/2 in. slab first so as to emulate the recipe as close as possible? - Out of curiosity why 400 degs? The brazing lessons recommends something closer to 300 degs. Is this because it's lamb? Thanks in advance.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Good questions. I likely cut the lamb leg up a bit, but I guess that is up to you. As for the cooking temperature, you could definitely cook this dish "lower and slower" and have great results. In fact, I often do cook it at a lower temperature (depending on time). Cheers!
  • Faye G
    Faye G
    First of all THANK YOU for the greatest cooking school online. I’ve stumble upon your link by pure chance via MetroKintchen site. Little did I know that I was in for treat! I am a novice cook and was looking for technical instructors / mentors. Since you were very kind with loads of free information I was visiting your site quit often for some time. But after a while it did not feel right taking advantage of your generosity and I decided to sign up. What a treat! What a bargain!!! I know. I took baking and chocolate clinics at FCI and paid arm and leg for them. The classes were full and the instructors (for my money?!) were arrogant. Here at Rouxbe I have a luxury of one-on-one training. Great training that is. The information is not held back and is generously shared with thousands of others. One can repeat any lesson at any time and as often as needed. Just great! I only wish I could cook all the time. Oh well… Now the questions. 01. Oven temperature of 400° - for braising it is quite high. Is not the braising synonymous to “low and slow”? 02. What is the purpose of marinating the meat if it is going to be braised for a long time? From what I have read marinating process was started mostly for the preservation purpose. Now days we marinate primarily for the flavor (not for softening the tissue). So could you please explain what are the benefits of 3-4 hours of marinating in this recipe? Since I did not have 6 hours to dedicate for this recipe I had to deviate from the instructions. I followed the 1st step then proceeded to the second step and placed the vessel into the cold oven, which was set to 300°. After 2 hours of braising the meat I decided that I could benefit from a short nap. I left the kitchen and parked myself on the couch, making sure the timer is close by. When I woke up….Yes, you’ve guessed it; I did not hear when the timer went off. It was 3:40am!!!!@#$#@@?#. I rushed to the kitchen to retrieve my precious darling from the oven. I was in luck as my oven was 50° off. So all this time without knowing it the braised lamb had perfect environment (low and slow at 250°). The lamb was not overcooked (surprise!) and delicious. I thought it was going to be a short post of gratitude not more. Again thank you for everything you are doing. Faye
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    First let me start by saying...THANK YOU RIGHT BACK :-) We are thrilled that you are enjoying the school and it was kind of you to say so. Now to answer your questions: 1- Braising can technically be done at any temperature. Here is a link to a bit more info about this. Also both the Combination Cooking and Braising Lesson go into this in a bit more detail. 2- The marinating period just gives the meat even more time to absorb the flavor of the marinade. They sort of get to just hang out and become friends :-) As for your cute!!! Hasn't that happened to all of us. Of course we may not all have been as lucky as you seemed to be. Keep up the good work Faye and thanks again for your kind words! Cheers!
  • Jeff L
    Jeff L
    I've made a lot of the recipes here on Rouxbe, including several where braising was the cooking method, and they have all been fantastic...up until this one. The recipe itself is simple and the preparation straight-forward, so I don't think I did anything wrong, but I was underwhelmed with the flavor this dish. The wine overpowered almost everything else and I was left wondering if it might not be better to use 750 ml of stock in place of one of the bottles of wine? I read the other comments here before I made this dish and noted that one of the staff indicated not to use a big Napa cab, so I decide on two bottles of good quality French Burgundy....a wine that I cellar and drink fairly regularly, so I'm confident that it wasn't a wine quality issue. Just to be clear - I'm not complaining, just relaying my experience. Perhaps it's just a matter of taste. Whatever the case, I've been very satisfied with my Rouxbe membership and want to thank you all for the incredible job you do here. Cheers - Jeff
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    This is an old Portuguese Grandma's recipe which is meant to be simple in flavor and process. I have made several times and enjoyed it. Although, once I used a wine that did not seem to do the dish justice. Next time, you may want to try using a bit of stock. That's the beauty of knowing the techniques behind cooking methods such as Braising and Combination Cooking you are then free to make your own tweaks. Thanks for feedback Jeff, it's very much appreciated. Keep up the great work. Cheers!

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