May 21 2007

Roast Shoulder of Lamb

Out of the deepfreeze comes a shoulder of lamb which I boned and rolled a while back.

To bone any meat use a sharp flexible bladed knife and, sliding it into the meat, work your way along and around the bones. Blunt knives are much more dangerous than sharp ones because you need so much more pressure, then you slip and cut yourself!

Sprinkle the meat with course salt and freshly ground pepper.

Herbs are always a welcome addition to the pan. This time I have the prunings of the Thyme plants from the garden and I will roast the lamb on a thick bed of these thymey twigs. Rosemary and garlic are also particularly delicious with lamb and later in the year a bed of mint permeates the meat as it cooks and smells of spring. But beware sage, it’s too strong for lamb and belongs with pork.

This piece weighs some 3lbs (about1.5 kg) so it will feed us for a couple of days, hot and cold.

Hot : Roast in a hot oven 20 mins to the lb (45 per kg).
Blanch peeled potatoes for 2-3 mins, drain, then roast round the meat. We had red and yellow stemmed chard from the polytunnel and Puy lentils with garlic and ginger to accompany the meat. It will be a while yet before we dig the first new potatoes and shell the first peas!

And gravy of course; it surprises me how often I am asked how to make gravy without those disgusting gravy granules! Lift the meat from the roasting pan when its cooked and put it to “rest” on a serving plate or board, cover and keep warm. This will make it easier to carve and give you time to finish every thing else. Drain the spinach chard or other vegetable and keep the water. Return the roasting tin to the heat, scrape the residue with a wooden spoon and gradually stir in some of the veg water. Simmer, then stir in a teaspoon of corn flour mixed to a thin paste with a little water. As the gravy heats it will loose the cloudy look and become glossy and a rich brown.. Adjust thickness to your taste with a little more stock or corn flour mixture, if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Next day we will add baked potatoes with crème fraiche to the cold lamb. A rocket salad once more gleaned from the remains in the pollytunnel will be sprinkled with course salt and virgin olive oil, and maybe a dash of fig balsamic vinegar. Or perhaps I‘ll make some mayonnaise instead. Home made plum chutney will finish things off and of course a glass of wine.

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