The whole point of a weekend is finding time to enjoy oneself, separate and apart from the monotony of a working week. While I often find that enjoyment in hours of pottering in the kitchen, sometimes I’d much rather be anywhere else. A slow-roasted shoulder of lamb will happily look after itself while I spend my day enjoying the fresh air, taking a hot bath, reading a book, or writing for Caroline Feeds.
This time, while my lamb cooked, I spent some time wandering in the English countryside…
I can’t be the only one who enjoys weekend leisure activities so much more if I’m not spending the entire time wondering what we should have for dinner, or when I need to start cooking to eat in time. If it’s already done, happily cooking away, with no danger of spoiling even if it spends an extra hour cooking, I am so much more relaxed. Now I can properly enjoy my weekend.
This shoulder of lamb looks spectacular (and tastes it), but really couldn’t be easier. No flipping halfway or stirring required; it really does look after itself, leaving you the freedom to do whatever you’d like in the meantime.
All you need to do is slash the fat on top, season the meat generously and sear only the fat side in a stovetop-safe, high-sided roasting dish that is large enough to take the shoulder. Once seared, tumble in a couple of roughly chunked onions, a few smashed cloves of garlic, a glass of white wine, some herbs, a large tin of chopped tomatoes and a good swig of water. Throw everything in all at once – it will cook for almost five hours, so no need to soften the onions or cook away the wine. Pop the lamb on top, cover with a double layer of foil and roast for 4h30min at 325F / 160C / 150C Fan. Remove the foil, turn up the oven slightly to 350F / 180C / 170C Fan and roast for a further 15 – 20 minutes. Remove any herb stalks or bay leaves.
Once cooked, it’s completely up to you what you do with it. Some suggestions…
- Roughly shred the meat and serve with the tomato sauce and some dry-roasted cauliflower.
- Chunk up the meat, season with salt, and stuff into crusty rolls with a handful of dressed rocket.
- Shred the meat, stir into the tomato sauce and serve the ragù-style sauce on pasta with a grating of parmesan.
- Use a hand blender to blend the tomatoes and onions into a rich, smooth sauce. Serve with pasta, reserving the meat for another day. (Very Italian. And economical.)
- Crisp up chunks of the lamb, including the skin, in a dry frying pan and stuff into pita breads with tzatziki and salad for a fabulous kebab.
- Toss in some black olives, crumble over a hunk of feta cheese and serve with some simple boiled potatoes for a Greek vibe.