Arni Riganato

Braised Lamb Chops in Olive Oil, Garlic and Lemon Sauce

FRAGRANT with garlic and oregano, these lamb chops cook slowly in olive oil, wine and lemon juice. Almost any kind of meat can be made into a riganato: My mother usually cooks young goat, and veal, chicken and turkey can also be prepared the same way, with the cooking times adjusted accordingly.

There is plenty of sauce, which can be served with pasta, such as egg noodles or tagliatelle. You could also serve mashed potatoes or follow my mother’s example: Fry quartered medium-sized potatoes in olive oil until they are almost tender, and finish them off in the tasty sauce.


  • â…“ cup olive oil
  • 2½ pounds shoulder lamb chops (5–6 chops), trimmed of most fat
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4–5 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • â…“ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • A few sprigs of fresh oregano


In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the lamb in batches, turning, until no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. Add the water, wine, garlic and dried oregano, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, the salt and pepper to taste, turn the lamb and cook for 30 minutes more. Turn the lamb again and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the meat is very tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with the oregano sprigs and serve.