Monday, November 06, 2006

Roast shoulder of lamb

Shoulder of lamb responds very well to slow-roasting. Like belly pork, it is a forgiving cut, with plenty of lubricating fat: long cooking at a low heat makes it succulent and tender. Yesterday, I cooked a shoulder for eight hours in a roasting tin on the floor of an oven at its lowest setting. The meat was basted with the following marinade, which I had read about recently -- I cannot remember where.

2 cloves garlic
8 anchovies
1 sprig rosemary
1 dried chilli
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Chop the garlic, and crush it in a mortar with a little salt. (Or crush it on a board with the flat of a knife blade, and scrape it into a bowl.) Crush the anchovies with the garlic. Whizz the leaves of rosemary and the chilli in a herb mill. (Chopping them by hand is very tedious.)
Add them to the garlic and anchovies. Blend in the vinegar, then the oil. Season with a little salt (the anchovies are salty) and a lot of pepper.

At the end of the eight hours, I lifted the lamb from the roasting tin and put in on a warm dish; I let it rest for half an hour on the grill shelf above the warm oven. I put the tin on a medium heat on the hob, and poured in a small glassful of white wine, scraping the tin and allowing the wine time to reduce. I poured this sauce into a small saucepan.

As the sauce cooled, a good deal of fat surfaced. I scraped off most of it. The volume of sauce was not generous; fortunately, I had some left over from a roast chicken, so I poured that in. I let this curious mixture bubble on the hob for a few minutes, before serving it with the lamb.

The anchovies did not taste fishy, but gave the dish a rich savouriness. The chilli was unobtrusive.

3 comments:

WillSkid said...

nick - this is a very local query, which i suppose is against the principle of a blog, but i know we live near each other, so i wanted to ask - where do you shop for a shoulder of lamb in finsbury park? do you ever go to any of the halal butchers on, say, the blackstock road? i find the lamb that they sell generally quite good. the slow cooked shoulder sounds delicious, by the way: i want to try it.

Nicholas Clee said...

Will, I buy shoulder of lamb from Godfreys at Highbury Barn. It's always excellent. I wanted to try the Ronaldsay mutton (it has an iodic tang, a friend tells me); but there were only a few chops left.

I am a little nervous of the halal butchers. We know how the animal was slaughtered; but do we know how, or where, it was raised?

Femi said...

Will, for that shoulder of lamb near Finsbury Park, try Freemans near Crouch End Broadway on Tottenham Lane, a butchers that has a good organic selection. Unfortunately by 5pm today they had sold out of shoulder so I went to my other favourite; Baldwins on Green Lanes at the junction of Mattison Avenue. The game is glorious too. Nicolas, I'm going to try that slow roast recipie for mothers day tomorrow. Femi 7.36pm Sat 17 March 2007.