Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Lush Lamb in ONLY 5 Hours!

Apart from when given the chance to gnaw on juicy pink lamb chops up a mountain in the French Pyranees, too hungry to bother to loosen my ski boots, I truly believe that slow cooked lamb is the way forward. Absolutely minimal effort, maximum output, in the form of melty soft threads of baby sheep, no worrying about timing and will it be pink enough anxiety. mind you I think the same about most pork but that's already been covered, and will no doubt be again.

Lamb shoulder pre-oven

It really excites me when I have people who love food round for some tucker, it encourages me to really make an effort as I know it will be appreciated. This isn't effort in the form of spun sugar nests and fennel cappucinos (whatEVER!) but in food that tastes so good you keep delving in for more, going to loosen the top button  on your jeans only to find you already did it twenty minutes ago. Whoops.

Saturday lunch is a happy casual affair, nothing poncey, just good food and wine and lots of it (sent Boyfriend out to get some wine, in a slightly sleepy haze he came back with one bottle. GET BACK TO THE BOTTLE SHOP NOW, BOY!) Also, I didn't want to be running round (you can't actually run around my kitchen, more sidestep up and down rapidly) the kitchen all day, but relaxing with the lovely people in my house. We were lucky enough to be at another mates' house for dinner on friday night so no opportunity for preparation really, hence my genius plan of setting my alarm for 8am on Saturday morning, sorting the lamb out and putting it in the oven, then scrambling back into bed. Aaaaaaah.

Lamb post-oven with the cous cous
This recipe for Morroccan inspired lamb (sort of) tagine feeds four very generously. Pre-heat oven to 230. In a mini wizzer, combine the skin (definately not flesh) of a large preserved lemon, or a few small ones, 3 inches roughly chopped ginger, 8 garlic cloves, small bunch of coriander, 1 large roughly chopped onion, 1tbsp freshly toasted (in a dry frying pan) and ground cumin seeds, a tsp salt and big glub of olive oil, and wizz until you have a nice paste. Doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. Give the paste a good sniff, it's heaven. Place a shoulder of lamb (mine was from Dorset, his name was Steve and he weighed about 1.7kg I think) in a big casserole dish and pour over the paste. Top with a big chunk of butter. Cut out a circle of baking parchment the same size as the dish and pop on top of the lamb, take a piece of foil and place over the top of the dish and put the lid on tightly, over the foil. Put the dish in the oven, immediately turning the head down to 140 and cook for about 5 hours. And that is it. Literally. Do check it every now and again to see it's not burning, I left mine about half an hour too long and it did go a little burny, but still tasted ace. When it's ready, shred it up with two forks, just like you do with Peking duck. Serve with roasted veg tossed in cous cous with some harissa, more ground cumin seeds, chopped coriander and lemon.

Serve with plentiful red wine and ideally sit around the table picking away until no-one can move. Whether that's due to over-eating or too much wine, or both, is entirely up to you.

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