PS: I now have a Recipe Index up at the top of this blog. Definitely it helps to remind me what I’ve already posted, and what I thought I posted, but apparently did not…
I simply cooked up a most awesome meal!!! It would be perfect for a small dinner party of six, although this is ending up being parts of my lunch-bring-to-work-plan for next week. At least I know this one is a keeper and a good idea for any lamb-loving visitors!
A couple of years ago, I bought a half a lamb from a local farm, and while nearly all of this is long gone, I found a vacuum-packed lamb shoulder lurking in the back of the upright freezer which lives in the garage. (Food does last longer in these stand-alone uprights or chests because you do (or should) periodically need to defrost them. The frost-free freezers that come with your fridge go through periodic cycling modes, raising and lowering the temperature, which keeps them frost-free but increases the chance for freezer burn, and wears out your food faster.)
I’ve cooked shoulder chops (yum!) and leg of lamb (yum!) before, but not a whole shoulder, which in this case clocked in at 5.85 pounds, with bone-in. So I simply surfed around to find a good time and temp to roast it at, and then I’d go from there.
I adapted this Jamie Oliver recipe:
Since he also recommends pastured lamb, I figured his timings and temperature(s) should be on the money — often quality grass-fed animals will cook differently than your supermarket stressed-out variety.
Since Jamie Oliver is overall a good cook, I figured I’d adapt his recipe in other regards, too — but using what I had on hand rather than running off to the supermarket for the sides that he used. Besides, doing a riff in the kitchen is always fun!
He uses plenty of fresh rosemary, and I thought I could find my jar of dried rosemary, but couldn’t, so I subbed with some fresh thyme I had on hand for a different recipe, as well as with some Penzy’s Herbes de Provence, whose first ingredient is rosemary.
Prep Time: 15 minutes but you’ll prep some more while the lamb is cooking.
Cook Time: 4 hours 15 minutes.
Rest time for the lamb: ~25 minutes (during which you’ll do some veggie cook time).
Serves 6 for the lamb. 2 or 6 for the veggies depending on what procedure interests you.
Roast Shoulder of Lamb
The Lamb, Initial Prep:
1 Shoulder of lamb (5-6 pounds, but less will work fine, too.
5-8 bulbs garlic, peeled and chopped
Several rosemary sprigs (or sub dried rosemary leaves; or sub as I did: several sprigs of thyme + a teaspoon of Herbes de Provence).
Salt and pepper
A teaspoon of avocado or olive oil.
Preheat oven to MAXIMUM. (You won’t be keeping the temperature there.)
Fat side up: Make slits in the fat where ever you want. Early and often, as they say about voting…
Sprinkle half of the rosemary (thyme) and half of the garlic on the bottom of the deep-sided cooking pan you will use, in an area of the pan that will be directly under the shoulder.
Rub the shoulder with just a little oil on both sides, a little goes a LONG way. Rub all sides with salt (I used Himalayan), ground pepper, and the Herbes de Provence, if using.
Put the shoulder in the pan on top of the aforementioned rosemary (thyme) and garlic, fat side up.
Add the rest of the rosemary (thyme) and garlic to the top, tucking some of these seasonings into the slits.
Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil, and place in oven.
Immediately reduce heat to 325 F.
Allow to cook for 4 (FOUR) hours. For three of those, go have fun doing something else, like maybe the laundry. Yep, hate doing the laundry but…
Pull the roast out of the oven, and as soon as it is cool enough to handle, remove it to a platter and keep it tented. The gravy is discussed below.
I’m doing this for me at home, so although the lamb and its sauce (below) will serve six more or less, I don’t want the veggies to provide more than two servings, so I can switch out to other things as the week progresses. Eating exactly the same meal every time I serve the lamb roast is not a good idea. Maybe a salad, Or two. Or maybe roasted beets. Anyhow switch things out depending on what’s in your fridge or garden. Don’t eat bored!
* 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes (for two servings), 6 (for 6 servings). Peeled.
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice. Or a teaspoon for six.
* 6 ounces shaved or chopped Brussels sprouts (for 2 servings), 1.5 pounds for 6 servings. (or, shredded cabbage)
* 1 teaspoon butter or olive oil for the sweet potatoes. (2 teaspoons for 6 servings.) No I don’t exactly triple the level of fats when I upscale things.
* 2 teaspoons butter for the brussels sprouts. (4 teaspoons for 6 servings)
* 1 teaspoon vinegar or lime/lime juice for the sweet potatoes. 1 tablespoon for 6 servings.
* salt and pepper.
Boil the sweet potatoes vigorously 20 – 30 minutes until soft, check, and check.
Drain off water, mash with a fork or a potato masher, with the butter or oil, and with the allspice. Plus a little salt and pepper.
In a skillet, heat up the butter and add in the Brussels sprouts plus a touch of salt and pepper. Stir fry until the sprouts begin to brown, around 8 minutes.
For the gravy, no matter if you are serving yourself for the week, or for a dinner party:
* About 1 cup drippings (see below)
* 2 teaspoons tapioca flour. (Make substitutions if you wish.)
* 1.5 tablespoons of capers, lightly rinsed, if you have them (optional)
* 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (or lemon juice)
Your roast is on its carving platter, and your drippings are in their pan…
Gently pour off most of the drippings — fats will mostly be in the top. Reserve to put into the fridge for later, when you can truly separate the rest of the fat from the stock.
Leave about 1 cup in the pan. This should still be hot, and will be mostly stock (with a little fat).
Add two teaspoons of the flour to what remains in the pan, and whisk vigorously with a fork or a whisk. Tapioca goes in easily. Don’t add too much, we don’t need this to be thick! Tapioca seems a bit “gritty” if too much is used.
Add the capers, if using, and vinegar – and mix further.
To your lamb shoulder platter: Plate the veggies and then pour most of the gravy over the dish, including over the veggies. If you made a full amount of veggies for six, you could probably pour all of it over. I had extra.
(This smelled so GOOD I probably ate a little more than I should have. That’s okay, I’m pacing out my containers for the work week!)
The Evil Spell-Check wants me to change the spelling of “thyme” to “time”. I doubt the Evil Spell-Check has ever cooked anything in its life…