Slow roasted shoulder of lamb, braised summer vegetables
Recipe from 'Kitchen Secrets' by Raymond Blanc. Click here to purchase book.
This dish epitomises good home cooking. Shoulder is one of the cheaper cuts of lamb, yet here it is transformed into a wholesome meal – the long, slow cooking rendering the meat tender, juicy and incredibly tasty. Maman Blanc never used stock – just water, herbs and the occasional splash of wine to create delectable cooking juices.
A shoulder of lamb will vary in weight according to the time of year. In May and June, it will be about 1.5kg, while in August it could be 2kg, and in November around 3kg, so you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly; a 2kg shoulder will take 4½ hours; one weighing 3kg will need 5½ hours.
|For the lamb shoulder|
|1.5-3kg||Shoulder of lamb, hung 10 days, skin lightly scored (see cooking table below)|
|4g||Maldon sea salt|
|4 pinches||Freshly ground, black pepper|
|2 sprigs||Rosemary, finely chopped|
|3 leaves||Sage, finely chopped|
|2 tbsp||Olive oil|
|700g||Lamb bones and meat trimmings cut into 2cm pieces|
|30ml||Rapeseed/ grapeseed oil|
|1 bulb||Garlic, cut in half through the circumference|
|100ml||Dry white wine, (eg Chardonnay)|
|For the braised vegetables|
|250g||Onions, cut in to 6, keep the stalk intact|
|250g||Carrots, washed, cut in half then into 3cm pieces|
|250g||Swiss chard stalks, cut in half then in to 3cm pieces|
|2 heads||Gem lettuce cut in 6 lengthways, keep the stalk intact|
|250g||Yellow beetroot, cut in to even sized pieces|
|50g||Swiss chard leaves|
|10g||Flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped|
The lamb can be scored and marinated several hours ahead.
To prepare the lamb
Lightly score the skin of the lamb. Rub all over with the salt, pepper, chopped herbs and olive oil. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour (*1). Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large heavy-duty roasting pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb bones and meat trimmings and colour, turning from time to time, for 7–10 minutes until lightly golden (*2). Add the garlic and brown for 3 minutes, then take the roasting pan off the heat.
To roast the lamb
Sit the seasoned lamb shoulder on top of the bones (*3) and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small pan, bring the wine to the boil and let bubble for 30 seconds, then add 400ml water, the bay leaf and thyme. Take the lamb out of the oven and baste the joint with the pan juices, removing any excess fat. Add the wine mixture to the roasting pan, stirring to scrape up the sediment on the base of the pan (*4). Turn the oven to 150ºC/Gas 2. Cover the meat loosely with a piece of foil and return to the oven. Roast for a further 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If, at the end of cooking, the pan juices are reduced right down, stir in about 100ml water to extend the jus.
To braise the vegetables
Start to prepare the vegetables about half an hour before the lamb will be cooked. Slice down either side of the Swiss chard stalks to separate them from the leaves. Halve the stalks lengthways and cut across into 3cm lengths; set the leaves aside for later. Cut each onion into 6 wedges, keeping the base intact. Halve the carrots lengthways and cut into 3cm pieces. Cut the beetroot into similar sized pieces. Cut each lettuce into 6 wedges, keeping the stalk intact. In a large saucepan over a medium heat, sweat the onions, chard stalks, carrots, beetroot and lettuces in the olive oil with a little seasoning for 5 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook over the lowest possible heat for 35 minutes (*5). Finally add the Swiss chard leaves, replace the lid and cook over a high heat for a further 3 minutes. Transfer to a warmed serving dish.
Remove the lamb from the oven. Strain the juices into a small saucepan and remove the excess fat from the surface. Set the lamb aside to rest. Reheat the juices until bubbling, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a warmed sauceboat. Place the lamb and braised vegetables on the table so your guests can help themselves. The lamb will be tender enough to be portioned with a spoon, though you can carve it with a knife if you prefer. A turnip and potato gratin (See Kitchen Secrets recipe book) would be an excellent accompaniment here.
Flavour the seasoning rub for the lamb with spices rather than herbs – cumin and coriander seeds will give it an Indian flavour. Vary the root vegetables – turnip, parsnip, butternut squash and celeriac would all be suitable.
Sizing & Cooking Guide for Lamb Shoulder
|SIZE OF SHOULDER||1.5kg||2.0kg||3kg|
|COOKING TIME||4 HR||4.5 HR||5.5 HR|