Sondra Bernstein
Chef/Owner of The Girl & the Fig

Braised Lamb, Root Vegetable Sugo

With Kamen Syrah

Owner Sondra Bernstein quietly opened The Girl & the Fig in 1997 originally in Glen Ellen, California. Slowly, people began to discover her distinctive take on rustic French cuisine. In 2000, she relocated the restaurant into more upscale quarters on the northwest corner of the Plaza in Sonoma in the historic Sonoma Hotel. Over the past fourteen years, The Girl & the Fig has made its mark in Wine Country becoming a favorite for both locals and visitors. Her wine list is dedicated to featuring only Rhone varietals and we are honored to have our Syrah available to diners.

Main Ingredients

Yield: 6 servings


  •  2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb breast
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons blended oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 gallon Veal Stock (beef broth can be substituted)


  •  2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice and blanched
  • 1 medium parsnip, cut into 1/2 inch dice and blanched
  • 1/4 medium rutabaga, cut into 1/2 inch dice and blanched
  • 1 medium turnip, cut into 1/2 inch dice and blanched
  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled and roasted
  • 1 cup pearl onions, cleaned and blanched
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for serving


To prepare the lamb:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the lamb, rib side up, on a cutting board. In a bowl combine the garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. Spread the mixture evenly on the meat and season with salt and pepper. Roll the lamb tightly and secure with butcher’s twine. Heat the blended oil in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan over high heat. Sear the lamb on all sides until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and cook until the vegetables have browned. Add the tomato paste and red wine and cook for an additional 3 minutes, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the veal stock, place the lamb breast back in the pan, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and transfer it to the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning the lamb every so often, until the lamb is knife tender. Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest on the stovetop until it becomes cool enough to handle, about 1 hour. Remove the lamb from the pan, cover with foil, and keep warm. Strain the liquid into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Skim off any excess fat and reduce the sauce until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 12 to 15 minutes. Slice the lamb into 1/2 inch slices (you should get 12 to 14 pieces) and gently place them back in the sauce to reheat.

To prepare the vegetables:
While the lamb is resting, place the carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, garlic, and pearl onions in a saucepot with 1 1/2 cups water and the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes. (The vegetables should have a brilliant color but will be very soft.)

To serve:
Distribute the root vegetables equally among 6 plates. Remove the lamb from the sauce and place 2 to 3 pieces of lamb on each plate. Heat the sauce to a simmer, whisk in the butter, and drizzle the sauce equally over the lamb. Garnish with the oregano leaves.