Monday, May 18, 2009

Spectacular lamb shoulder

I know most of you probably don't have a lamb shoulder in your freezer...but in case you see one in the grocery store some day and aren't sure what to do with it, have I got a recipe for you! I was baffled when I pulled the lamb shoulder out of my freezer. I figured it needed to be cooked slow and low to break down all of the tough tissue, just like a pork shoulder or beef roast. But I wasn't really sure how to make it taste good. And so I started searching the internet for a recipe and found this recipe, adapted from a recipe in Alice Waters' book The Art of Simple Food. When I see an Alice Waters recipe, I use it. No questions asked. As I was cooking it, Scott said, "Maybe you should..." Ahh! I stopped him right there. "Don't fight with Alice," I told him. "Just wait and see."

The lamb was SUPER easy and delightful, so judged by both Scott and the girls. We had it with steamed artichokes (I steam them in my pressure cooker because it's fast and easy), but it would also be good with roasted spring asparagus or a salad or sautéed spinach. It would also be tasty on a bed of couscous.

I think what makes it soooo good is that it's cooked in the oven uncovered, so the tastes from the veggies, broth, and wine are magnified. The flavor is intense.

Long-Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Season, the night before if possible:
Bone-in lamb shoulder roast (3 to 4 pounds)
Fresh-ground black pepper

In a heavy earthenware dish or roasting pan that just accommodates the roast, combine:

4 medium tomatoes or one 14.5-ounce can organic whole peeled tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves
3 savory branches (I didn't have this)
3 thyme branches (I used a few teaspoons of dried time)
7 black peppercorns
1 chili pepper (Oops! Forgot this...and I even had the chili pepper ready to go!)

Put the shoulder roast on top and pour in: 2 cups chicken broth or water and 1/2 cup white wine (I used red because I didn't have any white on hand...scary departure from Alice's recipe, but it came out fine).

Cook uncovered in a 375-degree oven for about 2 1/2 hours. Check the level of liquid every once in a while and add more broth or water if it gets too low. After 1 1/2 hours, turn the shoulder over and cook for another 30 minutes. Turn once more and cook for 20 minutes, or until golden. The meat should be soft and tender, almost falling off the bones; if not, continue cooking, turning the roast every 20 minutes. When done, remove the lamb from the pan and pour the vegetables and liquid into a bowl. Skim off all the fat and discard. Pass the vegetables through a food mill and to the cooking liquid. Taste for seasoning adjust as necessary. The sauce can be with broth or water, if necessary. Cut or the meat off the bones and cut into large pieces. Reheat the meat in the sauce and serve.


Grandpa Foy said...

You're making me soooo hungry!!! Sounds really delicious....... Wonder if it's possible to buy lamb shoulder in Mexico?? Probably not.

Hillary Dickman said...

Maybe you could get goat shoulder instead. Probably tastes pretty much the same once it's been cooked that long.