Monday, 10 December 2012

Five Hour Roast Lamb Shoulder

There are loads of recipes on the web for this dish - I didn't follow a particular recipe, rather than a set of basic principles: good meat, lots of aromatic seasonings, a little liquid, good covering and long, slow cooking!  I started with a whole shoulder of lamb, either on the bone or boned and rolled, whichever you prefer.  Season well with salt and pepper, make some slits in the meaty bits and shove slivers of garlic and sprigs of fresh rosemary in them.  Now, take a solid roasting tin, put a little oil in the bottom (a tablespoon or so) and then strew (lovely word!) 2 peeled and thickly sliced onions over the bottom.  Peel and roughly chop 4 or 5 garlic cloves and add to the onions, along with a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a couple of bay leaves.  Now pour in 120mls of wine (whatever you have, but I prefer white for this dish) and a further 120mls of water.  Place the lamb on top, then cover the roasting tin really well with foil, tucking it tightly around the rim to make it as good a seal as possible.  Put in an oven heated to 150C or the gas equivalent and then leave to cook.  After 3 hours, carefully check under the foil (watch out! It will be hot and steamy!) just to check that there is still liquid - there should be lots as the meat will shed loads of juice.  But add a little more hot water from the kettle if it is at all dry.  Reseal the foil and return to the oven for another 2 hours, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes to brown the meat if it needs it.  Now, remove the lamb to a board and cover well with foil then a tea towel to keep warm.  Spoon the copious amounts of liquid fat from the surface of the juices in the roasting tin.  If the liquid is at all watery, boil over a high heat for a few minutes until reduced to the intensity you want - taste and adjust the seasoning.  You can either sieve the onions out of the gravy or not, your choice (I quite like the soft onions left in).  Now serve the lamb - it will be falling off the bone and you should be able to cut it and pull it apart with a fork and spoon.  Pour over the hot juice and serve with mash to mop it all up. Any leftovers make a sublime Shepherd's Pie or (as we did tonight), a Moussaka.  It is rich meat and serves a lot!

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