Shoulder Lamb Chops with Fennel and Capers

The flavors were amazing in this dish from Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking by Lidia Bastianich, one of our favorite Italian chef/authors. With rosemary, fennel, capers, onion and homemade stock, you can’t help but start salivating from the heady aromas while you’re cooking.

Shoulder lamb chops are usually not as costly as other cuts, but you do have to deal with a little more fat and bone. With only three chops, we still needed to brown them in two batches, which the original instructions didn’t indicate. Too closely together in the skillet, and the meat will steam instead of brown.

One major difference we will do next time is reduce the amount of stock from 2 cups down to 1 cup (this is noted in the list of ingredients below). After the chops were removed from the skillet, we tented them with foil, and reduced down the liquid in the pan (which still included the other ingredients).

And what is with throwing out the garlic?? That’s like tossing the baby out with the bath water, a sacrilege in our opinion! Otherwise, it was a fabulous recipe.

Shoulder Lamb Chops with Fennel and Capers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 1⁄2-inch thick bone-in shoulder lamb chops
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • All-purpose flour, dredging
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1⁄4 cup drained tiny capers in brine


  1. Season lamb chops with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Spread some flour on a plate and dredge the chops in the flour, tapping off the excess.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1⁄4 inch of vegetable oil. Cook the chops until they are crisp and browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove them to a plate. (It’s likely you will need to do this in 2 batches.)
  3. Pour out the oil and wipe the skillet clean. Set skillet over medium heat, and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and rosemary. Once the garlic and rosemary are sizzling, add the fennel and onions, and season with the remaining salt and the red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring to make sure the vegetables don’t burn, until they are wilted and golden, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar and bring it to a boil. Add the stock. Reduce the heat so the sauce is simmering, and add the chops and capers.
  5. Simmer, covered, until the chops are tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the rosemary stems and garlic (no way!), and serve.

Original recipe from Lidia Bastianich

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