Slow Roast lamb shoulder with tomatoes
Nothing beats slow-roasted lamb. The comforting smell of rosemary and garlic is unbeatable and it’s a gentle reminder that we should all spend time together around the table. We served roasted cherry tomatoes with our lamb shoulder, which may seem a little unconventional but the sweetness and acidity they add is just perfect to cut through the fatty, glorious lamb. See tips below on my advice for side dishes you could add.
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
350g rich beef stock
800g lamb shoulder, rolled; deboned
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
several sprigs rosemary
several springs thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cornflour
4-5 vines of cherry tomatoes
sea salt flakes
serve with side dishes of your choice
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Spread the onion slices out in a deep, greased roasting dish. Pour about 250g of the stock over the onions.
Pat the lamb shoulder dry using kitchen paper. Insert the slices of garlic into small openings and flaps in and around the lamb shoulder. (Alternatively, use a sharp knife to make small incisions.) Insert a few small sprigs of rosemary and thyme into openings, and any remaining sprigs can be placed into the roasting dish on top of the onions. Season the lamb on all sides with salt and generously with freshly ground black pepper. Massage the olive into the lamb then place on top of the onions. Tightly cover the roasting dish with foil and place in the oven for 3 hours, removing a few times to spoon over any liquid. You could use tongs to turn the shoulder over as well if you wish to.
Remove the dish from oven after 3 hours and increase the heat to 220°C. Carefully set the lamb aside and strain the onions and liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a pan on the stovetop (discarding the onions and any herbs). Stir the cornflour into the remaining 100g stock and add to the stovetop pan. Heat over high whisk continuously until it thickens to a gravy. Set aside to keep warm.
Pick out any visible herbs from the cooked lamb (which will turn bitter when roasted on high heat) and carefully return the lamb to the roasting dish. Add the cherry tomatoes all around it and drizzle a little olive oil over. Place the tray uncovered into the hot oven for 8-10 minutes to roast the tomatoes and caramelise the lamb surface.
Remove and snip off the butcher’s string around the lamb. Place the lamb on a serving dish and use two forks to ‘flake’ the shoulder into smaller pieces. It should fall apart effortlessly. Pour some warm gravy over the lamb and serve with the roasted tomatoes alongside. A pinch of sea salt flakes will top it off.
Traditional condiments like mint sauce and Dijon mustard are excellent with lamb, as are any other trimmings and side dishes you favour at a roast.
If you are roasting potatoes, you may want to hold off on returning the lamb to the oven for those last 10 minutes, and get started on the potatoes instead, adding the lamb towards the end. The lamb can also be prepared ahead of time and kept warm (assuming you have a double oven), then the tomatoes can be done at the same time as the potatoes. Because timing is everything (and no one should be stressing at a dinner party) serve side dishes that can be done on the stovetop, like buttery mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.