This simple one-pot wonder is a different way to roast lamb. While it takes around three hours to slowly cook, you’ll be rewarded with juicy, tender meat with a huge amount of flavour. The best thing about it is that it’s one of those fantastic dishes where the sauce is made as it cooks – and we all know how important it is to us French to serve sauce with our meat.
1 × 1.35 kg boned lamb shoulder
(2 kg with the bone in), removed from the fridge 1 hour before cooking
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 turnip, thinly sliced olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups (500 ml) Chicken Stock (see below), plus extra if needed
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
40 g unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the lamb on a chopping board, skin-side down, then open it up. Scatter the garlic and parsley over the lamb, then season well with salt and pepper. Bring the long sides of the lamb together, then tie with kitchen string, tying the ends together tightly to form a compact shape for even cooking.
3. Place the carrot, onion and turnip in an enamelled cast-iron casserole that fits the lamb snugly or a 3.75 litre capacity ovenproof saucepan. Place the lamb on top, skin-side up and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with the lid and roast the lamb for 1½ hours or until light golden.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.
5. Heat the stock in a small saucepan. Remove the casserole from the oven, then pour the wine over the lamb and add the hot stock; the liquid should come halfway up the sides of the lamb. Add the bay leaves and thyme, then bring to a simmer over high heat.
6. Return the lamb to the oven to roast, covered, for a further 30 minutes, then check the stock and add a little extra if the pan looks like it is drying out. Remove the lid and roast the lamb for another 1 hour or until it is very tender; a paring knife should slide easily into the side of the lamb where there is no skin without any resistance.
7. Remove the lamb from the casserole, then cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Strain the sauce into a large frying pan, reserving the vegetables, then bring to a simmer, skimming off any fat from the surface with a ladle (or blot the surface 2 or 3 times with paper towel). Simmer the sauce over medium–high heat for 10 minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from heat, then whisk in the butter until melted and smooth and season to taste.
8. Remove and discard the string from the lamb, then carve into thick slices and serve with the sauce and vegetables.
MAKES ABOUT 2 LITRES
1 kg chicken bones, rinsed well
3 litres water
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 small leek, white part only, well washed and finely chopped
1 stick celery, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garni (My standard bouquet garni consists of two thyme sprigs and a fresh bay leaf, wrapped in a piece of the green part of a leek, then tied with kitchen string.)
1. Place the chicken bones and water in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot. Bring to the boil over medium heat, skimming any impurities from the surface. Add the carrot, onion, leek, celery, garlic and bouquet garni and return to
the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 hours, skimming regularly.
2. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve sitting over a large bowl and discard the solids. (To keep the stock as clear as possible, do not press on the solids when straining.) Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. The
fat will solidify on top of the stock, making it easy to remove and discard.
3. Refrigerate for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 3 months. (A good tip is to freeze the stock in ice-cube trays so you can take out only as much as you need.)
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