For our special New Year’s Eve meal this year, we decided upon lamb. The original aim was leg of lamb but upon a disappointing shopping trip on 30th, we opted for lamb shoulder due to availability. One word of caution; pretty expensive!
I scoured the internet for recipes when we got back and found this one:
Mary Berry is better known for her baking but as I’m a big fan of hers, I was keen to give a savoury recipe a go.
First I made the mint sauce earlier in the day. Very straightforward; just mixing the honey, white wine vinegar and chopped mint together in a bowl and storing in a bowl for later. A really good mint taste was achieved and controlling the amount of sugar in the sauce was great also (compared to shop bought sauce).
I got the lamb out of the fridge about 3 hours before I started cooking it to bring it to room temperature. Then I made the rosemary and paprika rub (with oil) and spread it over both sides of the lamb shoulder.
I made 2 pints of chicken stock and added this to the baking tray with one chopped onion before adding a rack above the tray and placing the lamb on it.
I put it in the oven for 30 mins on 220 degrees to brown it a little (next time I would do this at 200 or 210 because I think it was too high – still getting used to my new oven :-))
Then I took it out, covered it in foil and put it back in the oven for 3 hours on 140 degrees.
All fairly straightforward so far so my tips for this recipe are be careful with how much stock you use or keep an eye on it at least. I checked it after about an hour and all the stock had dried up. Not a big problem; I could make and add more but I was more worried about the state of the burnt baking tray under the lamb (actually it seems fine now!). Then I think I added too much as we had an excessive amount of gravy! Again, not a problem, as I love gravy so will be using the leftovers today!
Final tip is just the impracticality of taking out a tray filled with stock from the oven to repeatedly baste. Even though I now have a beautiful new oven at a normal height in my new kitchen (!), still it seemed a bit precarious so the basting frequency was somewhat reduced from what was recommended in the recipe! There are plenty of lamb shoulder recipes out there so next time I would be looking for one without stock underneath and where the lamb could sit directly in the roasting tray.
However, after all this cooking, the lamb was amazing! Very tender, tasty and the gravy was very rich! I loved the homemade mint sauce also. I served it all with leek and mushrooms and we polished it off in no time. We bought a shoulder of 1.5kg and managed to finish it between two people (with seconds of course!). So either we are very greedy or the recipe that states 2.2kg serving 6-8 people is a little ambitious. It’s probably a combination of both these things…