Main Dish

Slow-Roasted Zinfandel-Pomegranate Lamb with Saffron-Scented Couscous

Mazzocco Sonoma Winery

1400 Lytton Springs Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2016
  • RECIPE BY: Chef Bruce Riezenman, Park Ave Catering
  • YIELD: Serves 4
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Zinfandel Sullivan

Cooking with some of the wine you will be serving is an easy way to ensure a good match between the food and wine. It adds depth to the food, and it brings the flavors of the food a bit closer to those in the wine. This dish pairs beautifully with Mazzocco Zinfandel.


  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, tied and sliced into 2-inch-thick slabs
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt from a salt grinder
  • 4 teaspoons whole peppercorn blend, very coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 6 ounces bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Zinfandel
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Pomegranate molasses as needed
To prepare the lamb, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Sprinkle the lamb shoulder on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the lamb in an 11-by-15-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle the bacon pieces over the meat. Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. 

Pour off any accumulated fat from the pan. Turn the lamb over and pour in the wine and stock. Cover tightly with aluminum foil or a lid and roast until the meat is softened, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more (or longer, if needed). 

Transfer the lamb to a cutting board. Pour the juices into a small saucepan and carefully skim off the fat. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the juices with an equal amount of pomegranate molasses.

Shred the lamb and combine with the sauce. Serve over saffron couscous (recipe below).


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced leeks
  • 3/4 cup peeled and finely diced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup quick-cooking couscous
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
To prepare the couscous, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil and leeks. Cover and cook for 5 minutes; do not allow the leeks to color. Add the carrots, saffron, salt and pepper and stir. Cover and cook until the carrots are just softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the broth, bring to a simmer and adjust the seasoning with salt. Add the couscous to the simmering broth and return to a boil. Stir, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand undisturbed in a warm place near the stove.

After 5 minutes, uncover and gently loosen the couscous with a fork. Add the olives and gently mix into the couscous with the fork. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

NOTE: The wonderful thing about whole peppercorns is that when you cook them for a long time (2 hours or more), they lose some of their intense heat and leave you with a great peppery aroma. So don’t be afraid to use a good amount of pepper here. Try it once according to the recipe and see how you like it. You can adjust it either way the next time.

This recipe takes 2 to 3 hours to cook but requires very little work during that time.

Mazzocco Sonoma Winery

1400 Lytton Springs Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448