A dish for spring:
Falling apart in the pot…
A Mallorcan recipe of melting lamb in a reduction of wine, thyme and rosemary.
This is the perfect hot-pot to serve guests at a dinner party because you will have left it to cook in the oven all night and therefore only need to reheat and serve – leaving you lots of time to : A/lay a really lovely table, B/concentrate on pudding or C/ do your nails and get yourself pretty!
Spring is the new lamb season so this dish really comes into his own now but do check with your butcher that he is giving you a spring lamb and not anything he’s had in the freezer for a while. Though you can also try this with a tougher goat or kid joint and it would be just as delicious and tender.
- A shoulder of lamb (with bone in)
- A bottle of spanish Rioja or Mallorcan red (some body and flavour!)
- A mix of diced carrots, onion and celery (or other root veg) to flavour the juices
- A bundle of thyme and rosemary, tied in a string, with bay leaf optional
- Salt and pepper to season (always towards the end)
- OPTIONAL: Add 6 to 8 dry or fresh figs towards the end – you will love this!!!
Rinse and pat dry your joint.
Make a pretty bundle with the herbs, tie in string.
Brush and chop the vegetables. I do not tend to peel them. It is easier and healthier with skin on so why bother…
Put the ingredients in a large pot with a lid and pour the wine over. The liquid should be at two third of the meat. Add some water if needed.
Leave to cook, covered, in the oven for at least 8 hours at 160°. I put it around 11pm when I go to bed and stop it when I get up at 7:30.
Season with sea salt and black pepper. Leave it to cool, then remove the fatty blob bits that solidify at the surface – it is worth doing this if you have the time, to get a leaner dish.Taste then reheat just before serving, leaving the dish uncovered.
I promise you the house will smell like the farmhouse restaurant, lost in the hills of Mallorca, where I first tasted that dish. It was generously soaked in the rich wine juice and tasted as if the meat had been infused in thyme and grape juice for a long long time – which it had!
Another recipe from the family archive!
- Neck and shoulder of lamb, 2kg – diced
- Garlic, 4 cloves
- Onion, 1 chopped
- Rosemary, a small bouquet
- Salt and pepper
- Prunes, a big handfull – stoned and soaked
- Water to cover
- Dash of olive oil
- Ras-el-hanout 1 Tbsp
- Cumin, 1 Tbsp
- Fresh ginger, 1 small chunk
- Cinnamon stick
- Coriander and parsley to finish
Use a deep pan or cocotte with a lid. A heavy cast iron one is best.
Chop and fry the onion and garlic and then brown the meat in the oil.
Cover the meat with water and bring to a boil. Add the prunes but without the stones. Add the spices, generously. Ras-el-hanout is a typical morroccan spice mix. You can find it in London in the Spice shop in Portobello (see my Addresses page).
Put in the oven at 180 and keep covered for 1 and a half hour to 2 hours.
Before serving, give it a last boil on the stove, garnish with fresh parsley and coriander. I have got plenty of herbs growing in pots on my balcony this year and I am loving this new pursuit…
Who needs a garden?!
The meat must be really tender so it cuts up with a fork, and heady with spices : you serve it with a buttered couscous or a bulgur grain. Tonight, I am using quinoa for a change! It is a high protein grain and it works well with lots of meaty sauce…
Table set, champagne chilled… Just waiting for our guests to arrive.
Sorry no photo: It was eaten up before I thought of it…
Now forgive me: I do not usually want to do restaurant food at home; there are places for that!
But this incredible lamb tureen was produced for us by Mr Borgès, chef at La Lozerette in the beautiful Tarn valleys above Florac in the Cevennes mountains and I think it is a great way of serving a sunday roast with a difference! Yes, it takes two days and I normally draw the line at half hour, but it is well worth it…
Pressé d’agneau de La Lozerette
Lamb shoulder, off the bone
White wine 1 bottle
Tomato concentrate ½ small tin
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Herbs: mix of rosemary, thyme and laurel
The day before: put your lamb in large chunks into a large cooking pan. Pour the wine and soak the herbs in it. Cover tightly and put in a warm oven (140℃)for 7 hours. You don’t necessarily need to hang around but be there in the last hour at least to check!
Take your meat out of the oven and with a spoon and fork, carefully push all the flesh off the bones. Try and remove any large bits of fat that remain, if any. This dish should be moist but lean. Strain the sauce into a saucepan and press the flesh inside a tureen or a cake pan for the night. Cover with foil, put some kind of weight on it if you can and reserve in the fridge.
On the day, skim the fat off the saucepan then warm the tureen in the oven while you let the sauce reduce a little further in its pan. The smell of both should be heavy with herbs and wine…
Serve out of the pan and cut in thick slices like a loaf, with the warm sauce on the side.
I served it with warm lentils but any winter vegetable will do.
I was travelling in the Cévennes last August, in the south of France and we stayed at a charming hotel called « La Lozette », about half hour from Florac. I had selected it because it enjoyed a great location for walking the hills and swimming in the river but also because it is graced with one of the best tables in the area: This recipe was kindly given to me by the chef, Mr Borgès. It is one of the best lamb recipes I’ve ever tasted !
Recipe from Mr Borgès at La Lozerette, Cocurès. With much thanks.
>This is the time for new babies and wild flowers, for airing linen and chasing away spider webs. I searched the web for Tips for spring-cleaning! So let’s make room for new growth, new projects, new ideas et new flavours…
Today I had a very unexpected visit. Knocking at our door was a very ancient looking “sharpener” who explain in his tired and low voice that he has been touring this part of London for about 40 years but that “today my darling you are my only customer in this street… Last year, I had two.” A quick rummage in drawers and I managed to rescue a few knives and scissors for him to sharpen in his van. They came back gleaming and cutting beautifully. That is exactly what a good lamb roast will need this week-end! And the second thing that a perfect roast will be in need of is this Jellied Mint sauce for lamb.
Big bunch of mint chopped up
Boiled water 300ml
White wine 50ml
2tbsp of Agave syrup
1 packet of gelatine
Boil the water and put 200ml in a measuring jug then dissolve one packet of powdered gelatine into it. Blitz in a blender with the chopped mint. I used the new mint that has recently grown back in my tiny London garden. It smells like a morroccan bazaar…Put all back in the measuring jug. Add the vinegar and the dry white wine. Add water if necessary: The total amount must not go over the pint mark on the jug (600ml max). Add a touch Agave syrup. Always taste as you go: this must be pungent and sharp with the mint and vinegar really fighting for attention! No blandness allowed!
Let the mix cool and beat it from time to time so the mint stays up inside the setting jelly and does not all end up in the bottom…
Put in a lidded ceramic dish or a jar and put in the fridge until set, still whisking it up a couple of times.
Enjoy with a lamb roast of any red meat- This is a fragrant and healthy substitution for shop-bought sickly sweet mint sauce but you can only keep it a few days!