Shoulder of lamb is a delicious cut of meat. It is also cheaper than other lamb cuts, so it's perfect for those on a budget. The shoulder always benefits from long, slow cooking, which renders it tender and, with added vegetables, even more delicious.
Feel free to use whatever vegetables that tickle your fancy. But we did find that root vegetables are the best as they respond well to the long, slow cooking.
- 2 1/2 pounds/1.2 kg shoulder of lamb (boned and rolled and tied)
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 large onion (peeled and cut into large chunks)
- 8 ounces/220 g Chantenay carrots (or ordinary carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks)
- 1 leek (cleaned and shredded)
- 3/4 cup/175 ml dry red wine
- 2 pints/1 l lamb or chicken stock
- Handful flat-leaf parsley (including leaves and stalks)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
- Sea salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
Heat the slow cooker to high, or the oven to 300 F/150 C/gas mark 2.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or casserole on the stove top until hot but not burning. Add the lamb and sear on all sides. Remove the lamb to a plate and keep the pan warm.
Slip the 6 cloves of garlic into the flesh of the lamb and the rosemary sprigs under the string holding the lamb together. Sprinkle with the flour and let rest.
Into the hot pan in which the meat was browned, add the onion, carrots, and leeks. Stir well so the vegetables pick up the meat juices and the flavor of the oil. Cook for 2 minutes.
Raise the heat and add the wine. Cook until the wine is barely a glaze on the bottom of the pan. Add 1/4 of the stock and stir well.
Put the lamb into the slow cooker (or casserole) and add the vegetables, wine reduction, the remaining stock, parsley, and bay leaves.
Cover then bring to a simmer (if using, place the casserole in the heated oven). Cook gently for 6 hours or until the lamb is tender.
Check that all the vegetables are cooked and the lamb is tender. If the sauce is not thickened enough, pour just the sauce into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add 1 tablespoon flour mixed into 1 tablespoon butter to the boiling liquid whisking all the time, this is called a beurre manié. Cook for 5 minutes then add the sauce back to the meat. Cook for a further 5 minutes. If any of the fat from the meat is on the surface, remove with a spoon.
Adjust the gravy to your taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The meat should now be simply falling apart, so place chunks onto warm plates and serve with freshly cooked mashed or boiled potatoes and additional vegetables as required.
Glass Bakeware Warning
For premade casseroles or leftovers that are in a glass baking dish and have been refrigerated, do not place directly into a hot oven as the glass can shatter. Instead, place any cold glass bakeware into a cold oven to warm up while it preheats. Or, allow the bakeware to rest outside of the fridge for 30 minutes to reach room temperature while the oven preheats.
If you can make this recipe in advance, we suggest making it the day before so the dish has time to flavor for an even tastier casserole. After cooking, cool down the casserole, place in the fridge overnight, and the next day, remove the fat which will have settled on the surface before reheating and thickening. Lamb is quite a fatty meat and this skimming helps to reduce it.