Using a chef's knife and sturdy cutting board, cut the lamb into 2-inch cubes. Pat dry to remove any excess moisture.Tip - Ensure the meat is dry so it will sear not stew when browning.
Season with salt and pepper. Then, coat generously with flour. Dust off any excess flour.Tip - The flour adds caramelization and also helps thicken the sauce. But, any excess can burn in the oil giving it a bitter taste. So, dust off well any excess flour.
In a heavy-bottom pan or Dutch oven, over medium to high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and add the meat pieces. Do not crowd the pan. So, do this in batches.Tip - Adding too many pieces at once will stew not sear, so it's best to do this in batches.
Use a meat tong to turn the meat and get an even color on all sides. Adjust the heat from medium to high, so you get good caramelization. Remove from the pan and set aside. Tip - If the meat is stuck to the pan, do not forcibly remove it. It means it needs more time. Try again in a minute.
To the same pan, add the remaining oil, and saute the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until onions are translucent - about 4 minutes.
Then, add the brown sugar and saute until the brown sugar is also well caramelized - about 2 minutes. Tip - Caramelizing the sugar adds flavor and color. So, do this gently on low heat without burning the sugar.
Next, add the red wine and deglaze the pan. Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. This will reduce the wine and concentrate the flavors.
Next, add the crushed tomatoes and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Then, return the lamb back to the pan followed by the broth.
Add the fresh rosemary and thyme. Give it all a good stir. And, bring to a boil.
Cover the pan, lower the heat to a simmer and cook on low for 1 to 1 ½ hour or until the meat is fork-tender. Tip - The cut of meat and the size of the pieces you use, will determine the time it needs to cook. Leg of lamb cut into 2-inch pieces will take about 1 ¼ hour. Lamb stew meat will take about an hour. Lamb shanks usually take me about 1 ½ hours.
Make sure to stir occasionally. If necessary, add ¼ to ½ cup water to ensure it does not burn at the bottom. Tip - If you use a Duch oven like me, you won't need to add water as it retains moisture. But, a pan with a lid, where steams escapes, will need a little water over time. So, keep an eye and stir as necessary.
When done, taste and adjust seasoning. Check consistency and if necessary add a little more water.
Set aside until ready to use. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge.
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar,
Then, add the chilled, cubed butter.Tip - It is very important that the butter is chilled thoroughly. If necessary, place the butter in the freeze for 10 minutes.
Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumb consistency.Tip - You can also grate the butter with a box grater. Alternatively, you can also use a food processor. Use short pulses and don't do too much in the processor. Finish it on the countertop.
Add the egg and combine well.
Then, add the milk and combine well with a spoon or spatula. The mixture will still appear dry and crumbly and that's ok.
Bring the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface.
Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough. Fold the dough onto itself bringing the two sides over the center, then the top and bottom sides into the middle as well (see video). Do this once more or twice more to create more folds.
Place in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat the oven at 420 F / 220 C.
Pour the lamb into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Tip - If the lamb is too thick in consistency, add ¼ to 12 cup water can stir well to combine.
Roll the biscuit dough again to about a ½ to ¾-inch thickness and using a 3-inch cookie cutter cut about 6 to 8 biscuits.
Top with the biscuit. I like to leave gaps but you can cover the whole top surface with biscuit discs. Alternatively, you can omit, cutting the dough into discs, and place a ½ inch thick piece of biscuit dough on top of the baking dish.
Brush with milk and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes before servings as the lamb below will be hot.
I cut the lamb into 2-inch cubes but you can make big pieces and cook a bit longer.
Thaw the lamb at least an hour before you cook it. Room temperature meat will not seize at high temperatures.
This recipe will work with 4 to 6 lamb shanks as well.
Searing the meat must be done on medium-high heat so you get a nice crisp coating that keeps all those juices inside.
Always use red wine that you like to drink by the glass. No cooking wines. For the lamb, I think a Merlot, pinot noir work wonderfully. You can also omit the red wine and use only chicken broth.
I am using canned crushed tomatoes but you can use 2 cups fresh finely chopped tomatoes as well.
In this recipe, you can use lemon juice, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar. I like the color and tartness balsamic adds to the lamb
If you plan to add more veggies like carrots or potatoes to this dish, I suggest you reduce the chicken broth by half because veggies will release moisture too.
This braised lamb is more delicious the next day so make it up to two days ahead and keep it in the fridge.