Wham bam, thank you lamb

Before I launch into this post, check out my recipes in the latest Adelaide Magazine, where I had a great time celebrating the mag’s 5th birthday.

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Spring is the time to eat lamb, with the animals being about 6 months old and with plenty of rain and fresh grass from autumn and winter, the quality is high.

I hassled Paul Dugan from Feast! shamelessly as he worked, to get a little of his expertise.

Paul’s lamb advice:

  • Grass fed spring lamb should be a pale, rosy red, and salt bush lamb will be slightly darker in colour. Milk fed lamb will continue in supply until october.
  • Look for a decent fat coverage on your lamb, but not excessive
  • A lot of people are scared of buying shoulder on the bone, but it is easy for a sunday roast, and cooking on the bone improves flavour and retains juiciness. Plus the meat is cooked slowly, allowing for much greater flavour penetration than the faster-cooking cuts

My advice:

  • Develop a relationship with your butcher- don’t be afraid to ask where your meat comes from, or the best ways to prepare or cook it. Ask what is good on the day.
  • If you ever get meat trimmed up for you, ask to keep any offcuts for making stock or sauces. You are paying for it anyway, you might as well get the most out of it.

This post is a bit of a double whammy, as I’d like to mention how good asparagus is at this time of the year. Gone are woody, flavourless spears and welcomed are fresh, young, tender and full of flavour asparagus. I love buying the really thin, pencil like asparagus. It cooks really quickly, and has a beatiful flavour.

My favourite ways to eat it are very simple, pan fried with a knob of butter, some garlic and sea salt. Alternatively, for the ultimate breakfast, I love blanched asparagus, buttered toasted sourdough, a poached egg and some grilled bacon.

This dish is inspired by one of my food heroes, Peter Gilmore of Quay in Sydney. Quay sources it’s lamb from Feast! in Adelaide, and so after flicking through Peter’s recently released book, I couldn’t resist giving his lamb shoulder recipe a try. I probably don’t need to tell you that cooking the lamb in this way will result in some of the most tender lamb you will ever eat. The method looks quite long but I assure you this recipe is very simple.

12-hour braised lamb shoulder with poached spring vegetables

Ingredients:

1  Suffolk lamb shoulder (approx 1.5kg)

2 L home made or good quality lamb or veal stock

100g butter

a selection of spring vegetables- I used peas, broad beans, asparagus, baby spring onions, baby carrots and radishes

carrot puree:

2 large carrots, peeled, grated

50g butter

Method:

Preheat your oven to 110C. Place the lamb in a large pot and cover with stock. You may need a little more stock if the lamb is not covered.  Cover with a cartouche and put in the oven. Forget about it for 11 hours.  I put it on at 9pm so it would be ready by 8am.

Remove lamb carefully onto a deep tray. Strain stock into another pot and reduce by half. While this is happening, gently remove all bones from the meat by twisting (the meat will be falling off the bone anyway) try to preserve the shape of the shoulder. Cut into 3-4 portions depending on how many you’re feeding.Put back into the large pot and cover pour over the reduced stock. At this stage you can refrigertate, covered, until ready to eat.

To make carrot puree:

Sweat carrots with butter and salt to taste in a saucepan with a lid on low heat, stirring from time to time to avoid burning or sticking, for 15-20 minutes or until very soft. Blend to a smooth puree.

To serve:

Preheat the oven to 150C. Remove lamb from fridge. The fat will have risen to the surface and the stock below jellied. This makes it really easy to now scoop off most of the fat and discard.  Transfer to the oven for around 45 minutes to reheat.  Strain out stock and reduce to a glaze consistency. Finish the sauce with 50g butter.

Prepare the vegetables- peel carrots, scrape radishes with a paring knife, pod peas, double pod broad beans etc. Heat a pot of water and add remaining 50g butter and a pinch salt. Add the vegetables in the order of cooking time, so carrots first for a couple minutes, then add spring onions or baby leeks, radishes, asparagus and finally peas and broad beans which only need a minute. Drain vegetables. Serve the lamb alongside the carrot puree and your vegetables, and spoon some of the glaze over the lamb.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Drooooool…

    And I love the title!!

    Reply

  2. hi! first of all i’m a huge fan you and your yumilicious FOOD!! especially your macaroons! and since i live in Melbourne i would love to come and say hi!

    Asmeth

    Reply

  3. Posted by Alexandre on October 14, 2010 at 1:06 am

    That looks great!
    Keep up the awesome work, Callum!

    Reply

  4. Just one question. Is a cartouche just a bit of greaseproof paper over the top of something simmering. I should know this from all my masterchef watching but I am not sure.

    The lamb looks super good. Does most of the fat render out of the meat though? I have this Ick about fatty lamb.

    Reply

    • Yes it is, and often are better than a lid as they keep food submerged in liquid. It’s a fancy name for something not very fancy.
      All the fat renders out of the lamb, and when you put the lamb and stock into the fridge all the fat will form on the surface. As it is solid at fridge temp, it is really easy to pull off the jellies stock with the spoon.

      Reply

  5. Hi callum! how are you? just wondering abou the lamb can we use vegetable stock intead of lamb or veal?

    Reply

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