March 8, 2014 by cucchiano
I am never happier than on a Sunday morning with a houseful of close friends, usually green around the gills, and the scent of this roast lamb filling the kitchen banishing hangovers.
This is my go-to recipe when I anticipate a lazy Sunday drinking sherry and filling in the gaps from the night before. It is incredibly easy and pretty much cooks itself. Minimum effort, maximum reward! It has never failed to disappoint. The only real effort is in the final steps of the recipe. Everything else pretty much takes care of itself. The lamb falls apart and the vegetables absorb all the beautiful flavours from the meat before a quick blast at a high temperature takes care of the crispiness factor. I normally roast some parsnips in maple syrup or honey separately if the need for an extra side dish takes my fancy!
The recipe uses shoulder but a good-sized leg (or even half a leg) also works well. Take care to ensure that it doesn’t dry-out as the fat content is much lower in a leg than in the shoulder. If using leg of lamb I am marginally more generous with the olive oil and have found that turning the heat down to Gas Mark 2 or 2 ½ prevents the meat drying out. That said; it is virtually impossible to make even the toughest piece of meat anything other than fabulous using this recipe.
I can’t take the credit for the recipe. I discovered it in a Sainsbury’s magazine about 3 or 4 years ago as an alternative Easter Lamb Recipe. I wrote it down in my recipe book but did not note down the chef. All I can remember is that he was male & possibly (?) from New Zealand. I apologise that I can’t give the credit where the credit is due but will happily credit the rightful owner/genius that created this recipe if he would like to come forward.
I often find that leftovers can be used to create another generous meal. My preferred choice is to pile all of the leftover lamb, garlic, potatoes, gravy and vegetables (with the exception of the spring greens) into my trusty slow cooker. In go a few tins of tomatoes and a splash of water if it looks a bit scant on sauce. I’m afraid that prescriptiveness fails me here and it is quite simply a case of whatever takes my fancy. Add some extra chopped onion, carrots and seasoning. Crumble in some herbs or spices. … chilli flakes, oregano and cinnamon have all worked well. Or alternatively, I have added black olives before crumbling feta over the aromatic tomato-laced lamb once I have decanted it from the slow cooker. I’ve even thrown in cannellini beans without disaster.
The result: a delicious slow cooked stew or soup utilising all the wonderful flavours from the roast and packed with vegetables. Serve with couscous and crusty bread if you need to pad it out. The flavours of the tomatoes build on the braised garlic, vegetables and lamb from the roast. It’s also an economical way to create another meal from the leftover lamb. If I have used a reasonable sized joint of meat I have managed to feed six on Sunday and get another four portions from the slow-cooker stew.
Little Spoon’s “Stolen” Shoulder of Lamb with Garlic, Mint & Caper Sauce (Serves 4-6 generously)
Served with Spring Greens with Chilli, Lemon & Olive Oil
1.8kg shoulder of Lamb
500g Charlotte Potatoes
9 Medium Carrots
650ml of Lamb/Chicken Stock
1 tbsp of Tomato Puree
2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
2 heads of garlic (cloves peeled)
Mint & Caper Sauce
1 x 25g pack of mint (leaves only)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 large mild red chilli (deseeded and diced)
3 tbsp Olive Oil
a pinch sugar
3 medium heads of Spring greens (trimmed of yellow leaves & halved although personally I shred them)
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 7. Heat a roasting tin in the oven. Rub the lamb shoulder with salt and place fat side up in the tin. Roast on the middle shelf for 45 minutes.
- Remove the lamb and reduce the heat to gas mark 3. Transfer the lamb to a plate and toss the potatoes, carrots & shallots in the hot fat. Place the lamb on top of the vegetables and cover tightly with foil. Place on the middle shelf and braise for 3 hours (this is the time to drink sherry).
- In a saucepan bring the stock to the boil. Add the tomato puree and soy sauce. Reduce by half. Add the garlic cloves and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the cloves and set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp of water to the cornflour and set aside for later.
- To make the mint sauce whiz all the ingredients together except the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- After 3 hours remove the lamb and leave to rest on a plate covered with foil (& personally a tea towel too!)
- Drain ¾ of the juices from the lamb tray into the reduced stock.
- Add the poached garlic to the vegetables in the roasting tray and put it on the top shelf of the oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes to soak up the juices and lightly roast (I normally turn the oven up a bit).
- Meanwhile mix the lemon zest, juice, chilli and olive oil ready for the greens. Shred the greens and boil in salted water for about 4 minutes. Drain and put the colander back over the pan until the water residue has gone. About 30 seconds should do it. Put the greens back into the pan over a high heat for about 1 minute.
- Bring the stock & lamb juices to the boil. Add the cornflour and stir well. Boil for 1-2 minutes and stir constantly until thickened.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven. Coat the greens in the chilli oil. Add the lemon to the mint and caper sauce!
EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY!!!