October 3, 2023

Braised Lamb With Burrata And Herb Oil

Recipe: James McKenzie

“When Peter van Boekhout first opened Sprout, he kept things “pretty simple” in the kitchen. “It was just me and my rolling pin doing three batches of croissants a day,” he says. More recently, he’s hired more staff, including James McKenzie, the former restaurant chef at Waterfront Wines. “He’s pushing our food in a different direction,” says van Boekhout. This dish is a perfect example: it’s great for a mostly make-ahead dinner, ideally served with freshly made focaccia.” – Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari


Braised Lamb

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small head fennel, chopped Pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 ball fresh burrata, mozzarella or bocconcini
  • Focaccia, to serve

Herb Oil

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp shelled pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs, such as thyme, basil and oregano
  • 2 pinches flaky sea salt
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar


Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Make Braised Lamb

  1. In a large bowl, combine lamb, garlic, salt, pepper, ground coriander, ground fennel, paprika and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix well, then refrigerate for 20 to 60 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine onions, fennel, cherry tomatoes and 1 tablespoon oil. Toss.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  4. Add lamb and sear on all sides, until nicely browned. Transfer lamb back to the mixing bowl.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Add onion-tomato mixture to the Dutch oven and sauté over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, making sure no garlic or spices are stuck to the bottom. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until tomatoes split and can be squished with the back of a spoon. Resist the urge to look or stir.
  7. Add lamb and canned tomatoes. Cover with an ovenproof lid and braise in the oven for 2 to 21/2 hours, stirring every 45 to 60 minutes, until lamb is very tender.

Make Herb Oil

  1. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pumpkin seeds and sauté for 5 minutes, just until garlic starts to brown.
  2. Add herbs and sauté for 1 minute, until dark green and crispy-crunchy. Turn off heat and leave pan on the residual heat, until oil cools to room temperature. Just before serving, add salt, crushed red pepper and vinegar.

Prepare and Serve

  1. Spoon warm lamb and sauce into a large serving bowl and place burrata in the centre. Drizzle with herb oil and serve with focaccia.

Excerpted from Okanagan Eats: Signature Chefs’ Recipes from British Columbia’s Wine Valleys by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari. Photography by Jon Adrian. © 2023 by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari. Recipes copyright © 2023 by individual restaurants. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved