PlumpJack Merlot + Lamb Ragout Bruschetta

by Cameron Henderson

Pair with: 2021 PlumpJack Merlot, Napa Valley
Cook time: 3 ½-4 hours | Active time: 30-45 minutes
Cookware: Dutch oven (cast-iron/enameled)
For a more fluid and fun cooking experience, have all ingredients prepared/cut before cooking—“mise en place."


  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder (deboned, fat trimmed, and cubed)

  • Grapeseed oil or other high-heat oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 6 baby portabella mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2-3 carrots, diced

  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

  • 3 tablespoons tomato purée

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

  • 1 can (6 ounces) pitted black olives, halved

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Fresh parsley

  • French bread, sliced


  • Preheat Oven to 350°F

  • Make Sofrito

    • Dice the large onion, carrots, and celery stalks. You can also do this in a food processor, but be careful not to purée it. You want the vegetable mix to be very fine but not watery. Set aside for later.

  • Brown the Lamb

    • Heat your Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat.

    • While that’s heating, pat your lamb shoulder chunks dry to allow for prime browning.

    • Add enough oil to coat the bottom surface of the Dutch oven and heat for 30 seconds.

    • Place lamb shoulder chunks in oil and listen to that sizzle! Flip as needed to sear all sides without burning—getting a nice brown crust can take a minute or two.

    • Remove from the Dutch oven and set the seared lamb aside.

    • *Keep any brown bits left in the pot, if not burned, as this adds flavor.

  • Onions and Mushrooms

    • After removing the lamb from the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to below medium.

    • Add the chopped small onion and a pinch of salt.

    • As the onion begins to caramelize, add chopped mushroom and a pinch of salt.

    • Shrink the mushroom to at least half its original size.

  • Cook Sofrito

    • With the onion and mushroom mixture still in the pot, add the sofrito and cook for a couple of minutes until the moisture is out.

    • Add tomato purée and cook for another couple of minutes.

  • Deglaze

    • Add the cup of wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to release the flavorful brown bits (fond).

    • Reduce the wine to half of its original volume.

  • Braise

    • Once the wine is reduced, add the seared lamb back into the pot and stir in 2 cups of beef/chicken stock. The liquid should barely reach the top of the meat, so add more or less, depending.

    • Top with minced rosemary.

    • Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and cook at 350°F for 3 hours. Check periodically for evaporated liquid and add more if needed (it’s okay if it reduces a little bit).

    • Add chopped tomatoes and black olives in the last 30 minutes of braising.

    • Remove from the oven, let rest, and season with salt to taste.

  • Bruschetta

    • Brush olive oil on one side of the French bread slices and grill with olive oil side facing down until char lines develop.

  • Enjoy!

    • Spoon ragout on top of the grilled bruschetta. Garnish with parsley if desired. Cheers!