This week, food writer Libby Kimber shares a divine recipe for slow roasted lamb that will make entertaining friends and family this summer a breeze.
- 1 lamb shoulder (about 2 kg), bone in
- 2 carrots, quartered
- 4 celery stalks, halved crossways
- Big bunch of rosemary (stalks and all), plus extra to serve
- 6 small garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 heaped Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground
- Black pepper
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
Pickled red onion
- 2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 370ml light-tasting vinegar (rice, white wine and apple cider vinegar all work well)
- A handful of dill sprigs
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 160°C. (If you have an older oven and you know it doesn’t have much oomph, then go to 170°C.)
To make the spice rub, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Place the lamb in a colander to drain. If there is any moisture on the top, pat it dry with paper towel. Make a bed for the lamb in a roasting tin by covering it with a layer of carrot and celery, then sprinkle over some rosemary. Sit the tin on a tea towel to prevent it from slipping around while you’re working on the lamb.
Use a small sharp knife to make six evenly spaced 1–2cm incisions in the lamb. Push a garlic clove and some sprigs of fresh rosemary into each incision. Drizzle the honey and olive oil over the top, then use your hands to smear it all over the lamb (it’s a bit of a cross between dabbing and smearing as the honey kind of comes away from the lamb). Give your hands a wash, then sprinkle the spice rub over the top.
Pour 2 tablespoons of water into the bottom of the tin and triple foil that sucker! By that, I mean place one layer of foil over the tin and seal tightly around the edges, then repeat two more times. Whack it in the oven for 4 hours.
Meanwhile, make the pickled red onion. Fill your kettle and put it on to boil, then place the onion in a colander in the sink. Pour the boiling water over the onion to soften it. Combine the sugar, salt and vinegar in a small saucepan and stir over very low heat for a few minutes until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Tear a couple of dill sprigs and add them to the cooled liquid. Transfer the onion to a jar and pour the liquid over the top. Top with the peppercorns and a little more dill, put the lid on and leave to pickle for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
After 4 hours, take the lamb out of the oven, peel away one edge of the foil and look to see if the meat has shrunk away from the bone. Then check that the meat is nice and tender by pulling at it with a fork – it should fall apart without any effort.
Replace the foil and let the lamb rest for 20 minutes. Just before you’re ready to serve, turn your oven up to 220°C, take off the foil and sprinkle some salt over the lamb. Put it back in the oven for 10–15 minutes to brown it all up. Serve with the pickled red onion. Yum!