Sunday, January 10, 2010

The BEST Slow Cooked Lamb Ever

Please note: the title of this post is not an exaggeration or some form of puffery designed to entice you to try this recipe. While it may not be the prettiest, this is easily the best slow cooked lamb I have eaten, no joke. And I have proof: I cooked it for some extremely well-mannered friends, a few weeks ago. At the end of main course, my lovely polite friends hopped up to clear the table and were then caught in the kitchen eating leftover bits and pieces in their fingers straight from the baking dish. I don't want to alarm you, but there was juice dribbling down forearms, much smacking of lips and even more licking of fingers. Yes, I know people do that at home all the time, but when you catch dinner party guests throwing politesse to the wind, you know that you have cooked a winner.

And on this hot summer's day, I grant you that slow-cooked lamb is probably not your immediate thought as to what to have for dinner, but it is actually completely perfect:
- it cooks at 150C for the whole six hours. You really can leave it while you head down to the beach as there is no adjusting of cooking temperatures.
- no basting: into the oven and forget it for six hours. Concentrate instead on basting yourself with the factor 30+.
- it uses bottled capsicums. No reason why you couldn't use fresh, but sometimes, life is all about being easy.
- the chilli flakes soften in the oven to become a flavoursome addition, without any uncomfortable heat or spiciness.
- ditto for the fennel seeds: the lamb has lots of flavour but no obvious aniseed taste
- the recipe feeds a crowd: halve it if you have only a family to feed, and you will probably still have leftovers
- you can make it all again in winter and it will still be perfect

This is the first recipe from Delicious Dec/Jan issue that I have made. Melinda from Melbourne Larder and I are exploring Delicious this month, after our fun with Australian Gourmet Traveller last month. If you are keen on joining in the fun, drop either one of us a line. Or else feel free to play along at home.

Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder With Capsicum and Olives

2 x 3kg lamb shoulders
1 garlic bulb
1/2 cup chopped rosemary
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbls olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
4 oranges roughly chopped
1 jar roasted red capsicum, cut into strips
2 cups pitted kalamata olives
2 tbls salted capers

Score the fat on the lamb shoulders in a criss cross pattern. Place garlic, rosemary, chilli, fennel and oil in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. (I added a little extra olive oil - about 1 tbl - at this point as I felt my paste was too dry and would not go far enough on the lamb). Spread the paste over the lamb, rubbing in well to work into the scoremarks. Cover and refrigerate for somewhere between 4 hours and overnight.

Preheat oven to 150C. Line a large baking tray with foil, leaving an overhang all around, then cover it with a double layer of baking paper, again leaving an overhang. Sit the lamb on the paper, then scatter over the orange, capsicum, olives and capers. Top with another double layer of paper and more foil. Fold all the overhanging edges of the paper in, then seal all the edges of the foil, so you have a package sitting in your baking tray that is locked pretty tight. Roast lamb for 6 hours or until falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest inside its parcel for 30 mins. Tear lamb into chunks and toss with oranges mixture on a platter. Scatter with parsley if you really want to impress.


Lindsay Lorraine said...

Hi! Love your blog ... this Lamb looks divine! Do you have an r-mail address? I would like to ask if you want to try a fabulous food product of ours. If so email me with your address!


Debinhawaii said...

It looks incredible. I am a big lamb fan. We get the magazine so late here, but if I can get a copy in time I would love to play along ;-)

Rosabela said...

This sounds soooo devine! I love the ingredients and would love to try the recipe (since I love lamb) but my husband is not a huge fan of fennel, olives and capers. I think that by omitting these ingredients it will drastically change the taste of the dish. Well .... I might just try it and not tell my husband about the other ingredients and then see how he reacts. hehehe

PS: You're lucky to go to the beach. We have lots of snow in Hamburg. :-)

Megan said...

I'm so glad someone posted this online! I was drooling over it at xmas time and finally decided to make it but couldnt find what I did with the recipe! Do you know how many this feeds? I am cooking for 5-6 people this weekend. Is it going to be the right amount or way too much?

Suzie said...

Thanks for your comment Megan - I cooked it for ten people and had leftovers. This will give you loads for 5-6. Incidentally the leftovers freeze well, so I wouldn't worry too much.