Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb
Well half a shoulder of lamb actually. This is a prime example of the way I use cookbooks - often I enjoy flicking through and absorbing ideas and techniques, but I don't often follow a recipe diligently or really, at all.
I was in the mood for slow cooked lamb and thought shoulder would be a nice change. The last time I cooked this cut on the bone was to make Nigella's Warm Shredded Lamb Sald with Mint and Pomegranate. Now it's quite amazing to think that a dish with three of my favourite ingredients could turn out so ... blah ... but I won't be repeating it any time ever.
However the method struck me as sound and I looked up the recipe again this time. My cupboards were particularly bare (still haven't restocked after move) and so instead of bothering about shallots and carrots, I flung open the fridge and mixed up what came to hand. Which was mostly harissa, with mustard, soy and balsamic. With a bit of honey tipped in for sweetness. It sounds like a bizarre combination, but the aroma drifting through the house was tantalising and half an hour after the meat was in the oven Figman was asking "When can we eat it? Can we eat it now?". He was pretty crushed to hear that it would be at least five hours before we were tucking in.
Nigella cooks her shoulder of lamb at 140C. I heated the oven to 210C and then turned it down to 150C once I put the meat and a cup or two of water in. I wasn't going to leave it in overnight as she recommends and I wanted to eat sometime before midnight. When I pulled the dish out, the outer layer looked almost charred, but appearances were deceptive and the beneath the spicy sauce were delicate shreds of soft tender meat.
While the half shoulder looked large (and was cheap!) the meat yield wasn't massive and this amount only served four comfortably. The Figman and Small One ate theirs with fresh baby carrots from the garden. I pulled some meat off the bone and toasted turkish bread, mixing it all up with green beans and more harissa.
Effortless cooking and a pleasing result. And now that I've got shallots and carrots in my possession again, I could even do it Nigella's way ... or maybe not.