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 a long slow cooking, which renders it tender and, with added vegetables, even more delicious.
We recommend cooking this in a slow cooker, but you can also cook it in an oven-proof casserole (Dutch oven) in the oven on a low heat (see below). Either method you select, the time is about the same.
- 1.2 kg / 2 ½ lb boned, rolled shoulder of lamb
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 220 g/ 8 oz Chantenay carrots or ordinary carrots peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 1 leek, cleaned and shredded
- 1 175ml /3/4 cup glass of red wine
- 1 litre / 2 pints lamb or chicken stock
- A handful flat-leaf parsley, including leaves and stalks
- 2 bay leaves
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Heat the slow cooker to high, or the oven to 150C / 300F/ gas 2
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or casserole until hot but not burning on the stove top. 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 leave to rest.
- Into the hot pan where the meat was browned, add the onion pieces, the carrots and the leek. 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) 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 preheated oven). Cook gently for 6 hours or until the lamb is tender.
- Check all the vegetables are cooked and the lamb tender. If the sauce is not thickened enough, pour just the sauce into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add 1 tbsp flour mixed into a tbsp butter to the boiling liquid whisking all the time, this is called Beurre Manie . Cook for 5 minutes then add the sauce back to the meat. Cook for a further five minutes. If any of the fat from the meat is on the surface, remove with a spoon.
- Take the gravy and adjust the seasoning to your taste with sea slat and 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 vegetable as required.
If you can make this recipe in advance, we suggest making it the day before is great, as saving for the next day creates an even tastier casserole. Cool the casserole down, place in the fridge overnight and 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.