Roast dinners are a gorgeous ritual and one that we indulge in pretty much every Sunday in our family. But sometimes you want a roast that delivers on comfort and flavour but is easy too. This is that. In fact it’s more than that. It’s in my top five meals EVER.
It’s all about the lamb, which is the ultimate roast as far as I’m concerned. This is one roast meat that I will be teaching my kids to cook before they fly the nest. I just love how easy it is and how much it delivers on flavour. Of course you could serve this with any roast dinner sides that you fancy. But I love the simplicity of cooking indulgent yet so simple dauphinoise potatoes and humble steamed greens alongside.
It’s so easy – a little bit of prep, then slow cooking all afternoon essentially then simply steaming some greens at the end. I would happily serve this to guests. Plus, the kids devoured it all. Apart from Bea mystifyingly refused the potatoes, which is clearly just a case of temporary insanity, as I’ve SEEN HER WITH MY OWN EYES eating and enjoying them them before!! Frustrating. But then again – more for us! Hoorah!
The secret to the lamb is long slow cooking – and covering the outside with a herby, salty crust. Do not hold back here – it’s something I learned in Italy where they heavily season with herbs and salt – and that’s what makes it so tasty.
Here is my ultimate recipe for an easy yet lip smackingly, moaning about how good it is all the way through Sunday roast. (Do not let the image above of a delicate portion fool you; I actually ate about double that amount…)
Makes: enough for 6 people
Takes: 5 hours (but not much hands on work)
Slow roasted shoulder of lamb with rosemary and garlic:
- Two onions, not peeled but cut into inch thick slices
- 1 shoulder of lamb
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into little spears
- About 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
- Splash extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt, ideally Maldon sea salt flakes or similar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- About 4/5 waxy red skinned potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly (as thin as you can, about half a centimetre ideally)
- 300ml double cream
- 200ml milk, ideally whole
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
- Red wine
- Beef gravy granules
- Greens – we use spring greens, shredded, broccoli and sugar snap peas (currently only vegetables Arthur will eat!!)
- Plenty of mint sauce
- Take lamb out of oven a few hours before cooking so it comes to room temperature. Preheat oven to 140C.
- Stick holes in the lamb shoulder – underneath and on top – with a sharp knife. Stud the garlic into these holes, try to get them completely tucked in, out of sight.
- Rub a layer of olive oil all over the lamb to create a sticky surface. Sprinkle chopped rosemary all over the lamb. Now salt the meat heavily – way more than you feel inclined too – all over the lamb – underneath and on top. Seriously, it’s worth it.
- Pop the onion slices on the tray and lay the lamb on top of them. Then add 1/2 pint of water to the pan. Roast for 4 hours. Every now and then check on it and add more water if it’s drying up.
- Two hours before you want to eat prepare the potatoes. Peel and slice them. Then butter a dish – I used a side plate sized quite deep cazuela dish. Mix your cream, milk, seasoning in a jug. Now layer the potatoes, sprinkle garlic, then thyme, then pour on liquid. Repeat a few times till you have a full dish. Dot butter all over the top and bake at the same temp for 1 1/2 hours.
- I like well-rested meat, so I take mine out an hour before eating and cover with foil and a towel. Then I crack on with gravy – bring the pan to the boil, add red wine and then some gravy granules to thicken. I don’t bother straining, I love the onions in there!
- Lastly, steam your greens and toss in butter and seasoning before serving. With PLENTY of mint sauce. Good for you if it’s home made but shop bought is more than fine!