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I love a roast dinner – there’s something about it that feels so homely, and with friends of ours coming over for dinner (who have recently emigrated to Hong Kong) I decided to do a traditional British supper to welcome them back to the country.
The thing I love about slow roasts is that you can’t really go wrong – the time scale doesn’t matter too much – you can under-do it, but it’s pretty hard to overcook it, the longer it stays in the oven, the better it gets – perfect if you find yourself having a catch up and dinner gets pushed back a bit!
The cooking guidelines obviously vary with the size of the piece of meat that you use, but mine was 2kgs and was in the oven for 4 1/2 hours. This sized lamb shoulder was plenty for four of us with lots of left overs so it probably serves 6!
So how to prepare the meat…
Start by preheating the oven to 170C.
Begin the prep by chopping the garlic into fairly thick slices – maybe 3 or 4 slices per clove and then place the lamb, fat side up and score small incisions with a sharp knife all over the fat of the lamb shoulder. Stuff a piece of garlic into each incision along with a small sprig of fresh rosemary…Then layer the anchovy fillets on top of the lamb shoulder. I promise it wont taste fishy – it just really adds a lovely salty, umami taste to the whole thing – I don’t even really like anchovies and you can’t taste them at all! If you’re really worried about the anchovies then leave them out and just use regular olive oil or butter to drizzle over the lamb shoulder (see later for this step).Slice the onions and layer them on a baking tray along with any leftover rosemary and garlic that you may have.Place the shoulder of lamb on top of the onions and drizzle the anchovy oil over the whole thing. Add 100ml of water to the baking tray.Now you have to enclose the lamb. Using tin foil, cover the lamb and the tray entirely so that it can steam inside the foil – you want to try to not have any gaps in the tin foil at all.
Pop the lamb into the pre-heated oven and leave to roast for about 4 hours. After the 4 hours, remove the tin foil and cook for a further 30mins so that the lamb has a chance to brown and crisp up. You can then pretty much leave it in the oven until you are ready to serve it – you may want to rest it for 5 mins when it comes out of the oven so that the juices have a chance to drain.
Make a gravy from the juices and the onions in the bottom of the baking tray. I did this by blending the juices, onions and some water from cooking the vegetables and then reducing it in a pan on the hob until it thickens slightly (as I can’t use flour to thicken my sauces).
Doesn’t it look amazing!
You almost don’t need to carve it, it just falls away from the bone, and the fat has all melted and the skin is lovely and crisp. I served it with potatoes dauphinoise (for the others), Cauliflower Mash, Honey & Thyme Roasted Carrots, and Roasted Fennel for a proper Roast Dinner!I then served my Apple & Cinnamon Crumble for dessert – you can’t get more British than that!