Slow roast shoulder of lamb with chicory and winter vegetables

slow roast lamb

I am very partial to slow roasting large joints of meat. I cook with an Aga and so, of course, slow cooking goes with the territory. Lamb, in particular, lends itself to slow cooking; the fat melts down deliciously, flavouring the tender, juicy meat so wonderfully.

slow roast lamb

This warm salad was inspired by a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, which brings together shredded shoulder of lamb with roast chicory, raddiccio and figs. I have played with the ingredients a little to adapt the recipe to the contents of a winter vegetable box – sadly no fresh figs in there at this time of year. So instead, my version features roast parsnip, carrot and swede along with the chicory; all perfect partners for roast lamb with their caramelised sweetness.

slow roast lamb

With plenty of fresh herbs in there and an incredible, slightly sweet and sour dressing with lemon, honey, cinnamon and pomegranate molasses, I think this warm lamb salad would be a wonderful dish to serve your family and friends this New Year.

Slow roast shoulder of lamb with chicory and winter vegetables

Serves 4-5 (including plenty of leftover lamb for naughty late night sandwiches!)

1.5kg shoulder of lamb, on the bone
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried mint
1½ tbsp fresh thyme, picked
1 head of garlic, cut in half widthways
2 parsnips, peeled, halved and quartered lengthways
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
half a swede, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 chicories, halved lengthways
2 tbsp honey
4 large sprigs of rosemary
4 stems of sage
20g rocket
salt and pepper

For the dressing:

70ml olive oil
90ml lemon juice
1½ tbsp honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

If you are using a conventional oven, preheat to 150ºC / gas mark 2.

Place the lamb in a roasting tray and rub all over with a tablespoonful of the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, thyme, and a generous grind of salt and pepper.

Pop the garlic halves next to the lamb, cut side down, and cover the tray with foil.

If you’re cooking in an Aga, roast in the middle of the top oven for 20 minutes, before transferring to the simmering oven for 5 hours, regularly basting the meat with the cooking juices.

Otherwise, roast in a conventional oven at 150ºC for 5 hours, again regularly basting the meat.

When it is completely tender and the meat falls away from the bone easily, remove the lamb from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Shred into bite size pieces, discarding any fatty bits. Cover and keep warm.

While the lamb is resting, prepare the vegetables. If necessary, increase your oven to 220ºC / gas mark 7.

Place the parsnips, carrots and swede in a large bowl with 2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil, honey and a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Toss into a roasting tray together with the fresh rosemary and sage, and cook in the oven (top of the roasting oven in the Aga) for 20 minutes.

Place the chicory halves in the bowl and add another spoonful of olive oil, a little more honey and a touch more salt, and mix together. When the root vegetables have had 20 minutes, add the chicory to the roasting tray and cook for another 10 minutes, until the root veg is caramelised and the chicory is tender.

To make the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.

To serve, place the rocket in a large, warmed serving dish. Scatter the roast vegetables over the top and finally cover with shredded lamb – you’ll only need about half of it. Save the rest for tomorrow.

Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve immediately.

slow roast lamb

As the dressing for this warm winter salad features a strong hint of cinnamon, I will enter it into this month’s Spice Trail challenge, which I just happen to host.

spice trail badge square

My take on The Garden Deli’s warm pasta salad

warm pasta and salmon salad

You may have heard the three ingredients for this month’s Recipes for Life challenge are salmon, courgette (zucchini) and pasta.

Sarah from The Garden Deli has been an active supporter of the Recipes for Life challenge since it started back in February. Only problem is, sometimes the trio of ingredients include meat or, as is the case this month, fish. And as Sarah is a vegetarian that’s presented a slight problem. But because both SWALLOW and Bangers are inclusive types, and because Sarah asked so nicely, we’re happy to let her enter a vegetarian dish on the proviso that I test it out to see if it works with said meaty/fishy ingredient.

So that’s what I bring you here – Sarah’s Warm Pasta Salad with Courgette & Herbs, but with my addition of some oven-baked Scottish salmon.

SalmonCollage

I topped a couple of Scottish salmon steaks with lemon slices and a grind of black pepper and then wrapped them loosely in foil. I then baked them in a fairly hot oven for around 15 minutes until just cooked through, when the bright pink turned pale pink. At the final stage of assembling the salad, I flaked chunks of the salmon into the dish.

Unfortunately I’m allergic to avocado so I had to adjust Sarah’s recipe a little more by boosting the amount of courgette and adding half a green pepper to the recipe too. Because I was cooking it for friends and their children as well as our own, I decided to omit the chilli as I wasn’t sure if their kids would be able to handle it. I only had cherry tomatoes rather than plum, and I grated the parmesan rather than slicing it as I knew one of my friend’s children wasn’t too keen on cheese so I attempted to disguise it by mixing it in before serving. Oh, and the fresh herbs I chose to use were oregano as we have so much in the garden right now.

But other than those little divergences, I stuck to Sarah’s recipe, and very good it was too. We enjoyed it for lunch today, and I’ll be having the leftovers for supper once I’ve got this blog post out the way.

warm pasta and salmon salad

I would definitely recommend giving Sarah’s recipe a go. Next time I make it I will definitely add chilli. It was fine without but I think it would be all the better for that little chilli kick. Chilli and lime are a match made in heaven, as they say.

I’m hosting the Recipes for Life challenge on behalf of the charity SWALLOW. Based in Midsomer Norton in the South West of England, this incredible charity works hard to support adults with learning disabilities live life to the full. One of their popular activities is the weekly cookery club and this challenge aims to find simple, tasty and wholesome dishes SWALLOW users can recreate in their cookery classes. The best of these will appear in a new cookbook SWALLOW is planning publish later this year to help raise much-needed funds for the charity.

If you’d like to enter this month’s challenge, you’d better get your skates on as the closing date is 25 June – only two days away.

recipes for life