Put a shoulder into it

Lamb shoulder

Lamb shoulder

Sat, Nov 12, 2011, 00:00


Course: Main

Serves: 4

Cooking time: 4 hours

SHOULDER OF LAMB seems to be my favourite cut of meat to cook at the moment. As a result, every recipe that I test becomes my new number-one way to cook it because I simply cannot decide which recipe is best – so forgive me for wholeheartedly endorsing this as the best shoulder of lamb recipe. It is, and will remain so, at least until the next one comes along. The other fringe benefits of this recipe are the “ready made gravy” and the “ready to go roast spuds” it produces, which are always a welcome addition.

Slow cooking a tough piece of meat – the shoulder – means the connective tissue such as the collagen (which is mostly made up of gelatine) is able to break down when subjected to slow heat. But it does require liquid to do this. Ideally, the heat will be gentle enough to ensure that it doesn’t all leak out into the roasting tin but remains within the meat, guaranteeing each mouthful remains tender and juicy, rather than dry and stringy. I find the oven at about 140 degrees (gas mark 1) for four hours helps this process, but the meat needs to be well covered in foil.

You chuck in the spuds about one hour before the end of the allotted cooking time. They end up roasting and absorbing some of the delicious brown juices which, in turn, helps them caramelise and turn all meaty. The onions slowly melt away to resemble something you would find swimming around the most delicious French onion soup, and the other great thing about shoulder of lamb is its attractive price. What’s not to like?

The toffee and apple cake was very nice indeed. Much and all as I am useless baker, I quite enjoyed making this cake and the glaze certainly gives it a very attractive sheen. This could very well be served up with some ice cream or whipped cream for a nice Sunday lunch dessert, or simply as something to really enjoy with morning tea.

Golden delicious are a bit bland to eat, but they were quite appropriate here because the star of the show is the light cake and toffee glaze. If you used cooking apples instead of the golden delicious, you would find the hint of apple would be more like a thud of orchard.

But if you need to substitute something sharper and less mediocre, you may want to up the Demerara sugar ever so slightly.



6 large white onions, very thinly sliced

50ml olive oil

1 bottle white wine

Salt and pepper

1 shoulder of lamb