slow-roast shoulder of lamb
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Slow and low, slow and low, I love the idea. I remember the fascination with Heston Blumenthal’s ‘In Search of Perfection’ book series, one of which featured a roast chicken recipe where the bird was supposed to roast at gas mark ½ or ¼, overnight or thereabouts. That was not an option (I have a gas oven and live with a wannabe Health and Safety guru) so I suggested sticking the bird on the radiator – it might have the desired effect. The proposal wasn’t well received so there I was, Heston’s chicken abandoned.
Fascination remains, so I got this lamb shoulder and I was very tempted to cook it at gas mark 1 (140C/275F). But had a vision of getting on to 7 in the evening, lamb still not done and hungry people in the dining room banging their forks against the table. A compromise then – gas 3. It was delishhh, pulled as it should off the bone and all the fat melted away. I must admit it's not terribly photogenic but tasted infinitely better than it looked.
slow-roast shoulder of lambServings: 4Time: 6 hours' roasting plus marinating
- whole or half shoulder of lamb (for 4 or 2 people)
- a bulb of garlic
- a few anchovy fillets in oil, drained
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- some waxy potatoes, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly
- ½ litre lamb, chicken or vegetable stock (half that for half the shoulder)
- a large bunch of rosemary, leaves stripped
- a bunch of mint, leaves stripped
- 4 large cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp. truffle oil
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- zest from one lemon
- 3-4 tbsp. olive or rapeseed oil, as much as it will take to make it into a loose paste
1. Blitz the marinade ingredients together. Spread over the lamb and marinate overnight, preferably, or at least for a few hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3.
3. Place the sliced potatoes and onion at the bottom of a large casserole or a baking tray (in which case you’ll need to cover everything with aluminium foil for the roasting).
4. Score the skin side of the lamb in diagonal pattern, then make incisions all over the joint (just jab the thing with the tip of a sharp knife) and stuff bits of anchovy and cloves of garlic into them.
5. Place it on top of the potatoes, pour in hot stock and cover with a lid or quite tightly with aluminium foil. Roast for 4-5 hours depending on the size of the shoulder. After that time take the cover off and increase the heat to 200C/400F/gas 6. Roast for another hour until it’s crispy on top.
6. The potatoes will be soggy and not terribly appetizing so scoop them out with a slotted spoon onto a small roasting tray and put under a hot grill for 10-15 minutes while the lamb is resting. Dish it all out with a serving spoon – you won’t need a knife for the meat.