Take 2 April 2015

Shoulder already prepared by butcher so not quite a big as below, but more than 5lb. Made up paste with crushed dried rosemary, garlic and half tsp salt, inserted deep into two incisions laterally through fat and separated muscle blocks. Set oven on “tru convection” 325F, used large round blue cast iron enamelled casserole with meat in bottom. Added medium spanish onion in vertically cut large pieces with some celery stalks in large chunks. Heated about 1 pint ham stock and added to casserole.

After  one hour, turned down to 275F, still tru conv., and put lid on casserole.

An hour before finish, large chunks of carrot and parsnip added. Working on about 6 hours total cooking. Well cooked at 6hours and had absorbed at least 1½ pints of stock; in fact no liquid left apart from fat. The stock had formed a sort of mush with the onion and celery – very tasty. Removed meat and veg from casserole to baking tray in oven at low temperature while brown gunk remains of stock etc made into gravy. Could have used at least 2 pints stock plus a little white wine.

Result: very tender, very tasty, most fat poured off. Fat and skin on surface nicely browned.

 

Take 1 April 2013

This started with Janet’s version of Jamie Oliver’s adaptation of a Woman and Home recipe which calls for a “whole” – in the UK sense – lamb shoulder, slashed to accommodate a paste of crushed garlic, salt, chopped rosemary and olive oil, then cooked slowly for about 6 hours under a loose tent of foil with onions, garlic and rosemary, carrots being added for the last hour.

I asked Pierre for an “épaule complète” maybe I should have said entière, but he got my drift although was politely incredulous; however if Madame wanted it she could have it. “It” turned out to be a little more than bargained for as it included the chops under the shoulder which a UK butcher would sell separately.

Undaunted, I proceded with the Easter Sunday Lamb: 6 cloves of garlic sliced into spears, a couple of medium yellow onions cut lengthwise into six pieces each, 6 small branches of rosemary (fresh from the basement where the bush overwinters) and about a pint of ham stock  – the boiling liquor from the jambon joint cooked Good Friday – plus some decidedly cooking grade white wine. (Chateau sous-sol)

I made some narrow but deep incisions in the meat and fat, inserted spears of garlic and a small branch of rosemary where the muscle blocks had separated, putting the rest of the garlic, onions and rosemary in the bottom of a large cast iron casserole. The lamb was placed on top of these vegetables and stock with some white wine (about one third of a pint) poured over. (No salt added because the stock was slightly salty although not excessively so.) The casserole lid which seals firmly was then set in place and the whole thing put in the oven at 275°F (250 for fan/convection) for four hours.

At this point I decided the “tent” of foil would have allowed for some steam to escape so I propped the casserole lid up a little with silicon buffers and allowed it to cook for another couple of hours, but added fairly large chunks of chopped carrots for the last hour. At this point it looked pretty well done, the fat on top brownish and crisp and the sauce well reduced so I removed the meat on to a roasting pan and returned it to a low oven while I skimmed most of the fat off the gravy and vegetables.

By this time the sauce/gravy was rather concentrated so I added a little more stock and wine while cooking the accompanying vegetables. The meat was perfectly cooked after 6 and a half hours’ cooking or thereabouts.

Sugar snap peas and roasted parsnips were served with it on this occasion, with baked potatoes. And a good red wine.