Monday, 25 June 2012


Lamb is my favourite meat, as you may well have gathered. I always choose shoulder over leg because, frankly, I love fatty lamb and if it is cooked slowly a lots of the fat renders away anyway, leaving succulent flavourful tender meat. Mr Redding and I aren't blessed with a garden but we have a small balcony and, courtesy of Poundland, a rather clever space saving herb garden. We grow all the basics - rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, chives, chervil and mint.  I don't grow coriander because I find it bolts so easily, and (whispers) I'm not a huge basil fan.

So what better way to cook a lovely young shoulder of lamb than with a selection of young herbs, giving a green lightness to the rich meat. I also added lemon zest for added zing. I bought a whole shoulder and boned it (because I quite enjoy boning out meat and I understand the lump of meat I am left with) but a pre-boned joint will do fine. This is very strauightforward but very tasty - I served it with boiled new potatoes and runner beans and petits pois.  Spinach would also go well.

Shoulder of Lamb with Spring Herbs

1 shoulder of lamb, around 1.6kg - boned
75g butter
2 handfuls of herbs, from chives, sage, thyme, rosemary and mint, chopped finely
Finely grated zest of a lemon
Salt and black pepper

Open out the boned shoulder and season with black pepper. Combine the herbs, lemon rind and butter in a bowl, season with a little salt, the spread over the inside of the joint. Roll up, tucking in where necessary, and tie up nice and securely.

Line a baking tray with tin foil, lay on the joint and wrap loosely. Cook at 180 for 2 hours, increase heat to 200,  uncover and cook for a further 45 minutes.

Allow to stand for 20 minutes, remove strings and carve into thick chunks - no need to worry about delicate uniform slices here.  Make a gravy from the roasting juices (skimmed) and beef stock (or even an Oxo cube, but I didn't say that!). The golden rule with all lamb dishes is that everything -  plates, vegetables, serving dishes and gravy have to be HOT!  Serve with plain vegetables so as not to distract from the flavour of the lamb and herbs.

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