Friday, 22 June 2012

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb

If I do say so myself this recipe is a stunner. It's one of those dishes which is far greater than a sum of its parts. It takes a very long time
to cook but the preparation is quick and easy and as I was hosting a little dinner party for friends directly after working a long day this was just the dish.

It's an adaptation of a James Martin recipe I found years ago on the BBC website. Over the years it's changed a little bit from the original.

You will need:
A shoulder of lamb
4 cloves of garlic
Half a tin of anchovies
4 sprigs of rosemary
A handful of thyme
2 bay leaves
300ml red wine (replace this with water to make it 'cleaner')
300ml water
2 tins tomatoes
2 tins butter beans (leave these out to make it Paleo)
3 tbsp tomato purée
One beef stock cube

Serves 4-6

I start by taking a shoulder of lamb and making deep incisions all over the joint. In each incision I put a piece of anchovy, a few of rosemary leaves and a slice of garlic. For a whole shoulder I'd use about 8 anchovy fillets, two large garlic cloves and a couple of sprigs of rosemary.

I then heat up some oil in a large my oven proof pan which also had a lid and sear the meat on both sides. Once browned remove from the heat and in the juices gently fry 2 chopped onions and 2 cloves of sliced garlic. Add a bunch of thyme, a couple of sprigs of rosemary and a couple of bay leaves (preferably fresh. I get mine from my friends garden).

Once the onion is translucent and golden, place the shoulder of lamb back in the pan and add about 300ml red wine, two tins of chopped tomatoes, two tins of butter beans, about 3 tablespoons of tomato purée, a beef stock cube (I use Kallo as it doesn't contain MSG) a small amount of salt (as the anchovies and stock are both salty), plenty of black pepper and about 300ml water.

Give it a good stir, put the lid on and place in an oven pre-heated to 140C. Cook for 8-12 hours checking occasionally to stir the mixture and add more water if it starts I get more dry. When you remove from the oven spoon off any excess fat. By this point it is so soft and unctuous that I serve it in the pan it was cooked in and simply use a couple of forks to pull apart the meat.

The original recipe serves it with mash but as it has the beans in the sauce I just serve with mixed green veg. In this case I blanched some green beans, sugar snap peas and asparagus and then drained them and dressed them with lemon juice, rapeseed oil and chopped mint.

The beautiful lamb...

I am going to submit this recipe as part of the New June Herbs on Saturday blog challenge.

I love herbs and a you can see from previous posts I cook with then a lot. Since I've moved I have a small garden and am now the proud owner of a little herb garden. It's not much and I've focused on pretty standard herbs, but it's mine and I've been caring for it and watching it flourish and I'm proud of it (I have tried growing some Thai basil but as I type the little seedlings are curling up and giving up).


  1. I LOVE lamb and this recipe looks divine Sarah - thanks so much for entering this recipe into Herbs on Saturday! Karen

    1. Thanks, it really is a fab dish. So simple and yet so tasty. A real crowd pleaser which lets the ingredients shine x