Roast shoulder of lamb is probably my favourite meat. Lamb is one of those non-contentious meats. They eat grass, aren’t accused of ruining the planet (unlike their bovine counterparts) and the shoulder is definitely cheaper than the posh racks and loins.
But depending on the lamb, time of year and your oven, this recipe can sometimes take up to four or five hours to cook. It’s a recipe that’s best started early in the day. Tough lamb shoulder, as with lamb shanks, is really grim. The meat needs to be so tender and melty that a gentle tug is all that’s needed to pull it apart.
This is a great dish when you want to feed eight or so guests and are not sure what time you’ll be eating. This can sit around for an hour or so and as long as it remains wrapped up, it will stay moist and sticky.
Leftovers can get grilled with a drizzle of honey under a hot grill and added to salads on day two, or stuffed into pitta and slathered in home-made tzatziki. The salsa verde is a great sauce to slather on everything from roast chicken to vegetables. The goodness and nutrients in herbs makes it a great part of your diet. Being delicious is the cherry on top.
Domini Kemp is a chef, restaurant, cafe and food business owner and food writer.
Makes loads, but it's so addictive and will last for a few days in the fridge.
1 bunch basil
1 bunch mint
2 bunches flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp gherkins
200ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Good pinch caster sugar
Salt and pepper
Whizz everything in a food processor, slowly adding the oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sometimes, this needs a bit more sugar to help balance the flavours.
Roast shoulder of lamb
2 shoulders of lamb
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt (preferably Maldon)
Half a bottle of white wine
Handful of any fresh herbs: oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary
1 good tsp fennel seeds
1 good tsp coriander seeds
2 heads garlic
Drizzle of honey
1 Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, or higher. Place the lamb shoulder, fatty skin side up, in a large roasting tin. Smear with olive oil and season generously with salt. Roast on a high heat for about 25 minutes until some good caramelisation is taking place. Then turn down the oven to about 140 degrees and take the lamb out while you doctor it up.
2 Add the wine, the herbs and spices and peeled whole cloves of garlic to the lamb.
3 Wrap the roasting tin very securely with tin foil to seal it as much a possible, but still giving you the ability to occasionally baste it. Cook for another two to three hours, occasionally basting and checking to see that the roasting pan still has wine in it. If not, then you need to improve your tin foil roof. What I tend to do though, is give it two to two-and-a-half hours of slow cooking; the give it a final blast, at about 160 degrees without the foil, and a drizzle of honey over the top. The lamb should be a lovely dark brown and literally melting away. Cook it until you are happy with the texture.
4 It is fine to keep the lamb warm, well wrapped up, for up to an hour after this. I also like to smear the very soft garlic cloves onto the skin, halfway through coking time, before the final blast. Once you master this, it will become a firm favourite. To carve, think about portioning each shoulder into rectangles, rather than slices.
Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome