Listen to me slow roast my shoulder of lamb here on BBC iplayer
Sunday saw the launch of my new radio show on BBC Three Counties Radio, “Three Counties Kitchen”. It goes out every Sunday, between 19.00-21.00 and features everything related to food and drink in Beds/Bucks/Herts and well beyond too. I will be cooking in my kitchen each week for the show and I wanted to start this week with a home cooking classic – roast lunch, with full trimmings. I don’t believe in worrying about cooking times for lamb. I just love to slow roast mine and a few extra minutes in the oven is not going to hurt it at all. As you will see, I just throw my shoulder of lamb in the oven and forget about it for four hours!
I always serve my lamb with the full trimmings, including (controversially?) Yorkshire puddings. This post details how to prepare your roast meal so that everything – lamb, potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and vegetables – are all ready at the same time.
Preparation time 15 minutes
Total cooking time 4½ hours
1 x 2kg shoulder of lamb on the bone
3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
Several short sprigs of rosemary
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 sticks on celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
120g plain flour
4 medium sized potatoes
300ml lamb stock
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil and vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 170C/ 325F/ Gas Mark 3
Exactly 4½ hours before you want to serve your meal, take a large baking tin and throw in the chopped vegetables. Lay the shoulder of lamb on top and slash the skin with a sharp knife. Wedge the sliced garlic and the rosemary sprigs in the slashes. Cover the lamb with a really good glug of olive oil, season it well with salt and pepper then cover the dish very tightly with 2 or 3 layers of aluminium foil. Put the lamb in the oven. You can forget about it for 4 hours now.
Prepare the Yorkshire pudding mix by whisking together the milk, eggs and flour until you get a smooth, a fairly liquid batter. Season the batter with a little salt and put it in the fridge.
When the lamb has been in the oven for 3¼ hours, increase the oven temperature to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4 and boil a large saucepan of water. Peel your potatoes and chop them into roast potato sized chunks. Boil the potatoes for 9 minutes. While they are boiling, take a shallow baking tray and pour in a good layer of olive oil. With 4 minutes remaining for boiling the potatoes, put the tray into the oven to heat the oil up. After 9 minutes, drain the potatoes in a colander, giving them a really good shake to rough the edges up. Take the baking tray out of the oven, drop the potatoes in and stir them well to give them a really good covering of the hot oil. Put the tray back in the oven.
Take the lamb out of the oven after 4 hours and turn the heat of the oven up to 220C/ 425F/ Gas Mark 7. Carefully remove the lamb from the baking tin and wrap it tightly in several sheets of aluminium foil. Leave it to rest, in the foil, on a chopping board. Save the baking tin with its juices and vegetable for the gravy.
Make the Yorkshire pudding. Drizzle some vegetable oil into yorkshire pudding or muffin moulds. This batter will make 12 puddings. You need about 1mm oil in each mould. Put the moulds into the oven and leave them heat up for 5 minutes. The oil needs to be extremely hot. Take the moulds out of the oven and, working quickly, fill each mould to halfway with Yorkshire pudding batter. Put the moulds immediately back in the oven. The puddings will take about 25 minutes. DO NOT open the oven at all for at least 20 minutes or else they will flop!
With 10 minutes to go for the puddings, cook whatever green vegetables you are using.
Take the lamb’s baking tin and skim off some of the excess fat, tilting the tin forwards and using a tablespoon. Put the tin on the heat and bring the juices to the boil. Drop in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and whisk frenetically so it gets incorporated without lumps. Keep the gravy simmering so that the juices reduce and thicken. Pour in the lamb stock and continue to simmer, until the gravy has thickened nicely. Season with salt and pepper then pass the gravy through a sieve, to remove the vegetables. Squash down heavily on the vegetables with a spoon so as not to miss a drop of gravy. Leave the smooth gravy simmering on a low light until it has reached the consistency you want.
Your potatoes and Yorkshire puddings will be ready at the same time. The lamb will not need carving. It will just pull away from the bone with a fork. Serve the lamb, potatoes, puddings, vegetables and gravy all together – not forgetting the mint sauce!