Jane Lovett gives us her delightful recipe for shoulder of lamb boulangére to feed the family this Easter

  • 6 - 8
  • Medium
Easter wouldn’t be Easter in our family without eating lamb in some form or another. Living, where we do, in rural Border country the fields abound with gambolling lambs at this time of year. New season lamb is a treat and not to be missed – seasonal food at it it’s best. Tender and delicate in flavour, I think it needs the minimum doing to it on the cooking front. Shoulder of lamb is a cheaper cut than leg and in my opinion far more tasty and versatile. Marbled with fat, it lends itself to long slow cooking. This recipe for Shoulder of Lamb Boulangere is perfect for lunch over Easter, especially if you have a busy morning with little time to spend in the kitchen. Better still, there is hardly any effort required! Pop the lamb and potatoes in the oven in one dish and forget about if for three hours or more. It is very well behaved and almost impossible to overcook. The longer it’s cooked, the softer the meat becomes and will just fall off the bone in a delicious, gelatinous sort of way. Happy Easter!

Ingredients

  • 2.7 - 3.2 kg (6 - 7 lbs) shoulder of lamb, on the bone, (knuckle left on)
  • 5 anchovies
  • 5 cloves of garlic, quartered lengthways
  • a large knob of butter, softened
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.3 kg (3 lbs) floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, peeled
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 1 sprig of fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary or thyme
  • ½ pt hot lamb or chicken stock (or use 1 cube), or water

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas Mark 6. Butter a roasting tin or baking dish large enough for the lamb to sit happily on top of the potatoes, which should come up to about 2.5 cm (1 in) below the rim. Trim the lamb of any excess fat and with a small knife, stab it on both sides at random intervals and stuff with bits of garlic and roughly torn anchovy.

2 Cut the potatoes into thin discs. (The easiest way of doing this is by using the slicing disc of a food processor if you have one, which only takes minutes, or a mandolin.) Cut the onions in half and slice them thinly in the same way. In a large bowl mix the potatoes and onions together well with the rosemary or thyme and season with ½ a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper.

3 Tip the potato mixture into the buttered dish or roasting tin, level it out evenly and place the lamb on top, pushing down a little to nestle it into the potatoes. Smear the lamb with the softened butter and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4 Pour the hot stock or water into the dish and cook for 3 hours. If after the first two hours or so the lamb and top layer of potatoes are deep golden brown and crispy, turn the oven down to 190°C (375°F) Gas Mark 5 and loosely lie a sheet of tin foil over the top for the rest of the cooking time. Serve with redcurrant jelly and mint sauce.

Get ahead

Prepare the lamb to the end of Step 1 up to a day ahead. Cover and keep in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature at least an hour before cooking.

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Hints and tips

• The cooked lamb will happily keep for up to an hour somewhere warm.

• Delicious with Creamed Spinach, a plain green vegetable or a large bowl of salad.

• Mint Sauce: You can’t beat freshly made mint sauce with lamb. The vinegar cuts through the fattiness of the meat and the mint lifts it and adds brightness and zing. Chop a bunch of mint and mix in a small bowl with a tablespoon of granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour over boiling water to barely cover and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add white wine vinegar to taste, around 3 – 4 tablespoons.

About The Author

Jane Lovett

Jane Lovett is an experienced cook who runs popular cookery demonstrations from her home and around the country. She writes a fortnightly food column for The Journal, the North East’s daily newspaper, and a monthly column for The Northumbrian Magazine, as well as contributing to other publications. Her cooking career includes teaching at Leith’s School of Food & Wine, working as a Home Economist producing food and testing recipes for cookery books, magazines and television, working at Leith’s ‘Good Food in the City’ and running her own successful catering company in London.

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About The Author

Jane Lovett

Jane Lovett is an experienced cook who runs popular cookery demonstrations from her home and around the country. She writes a fortnightly food column for The Journal, the North East’s daily newspaper, and a monthly column for The Northumbrian Magazine, as well as contributing to other publications. Her cooking career includes teaching at Leith’s School of Food & Wine, working as a Home Economist producing food and testing recipes for cookery books, magazines and television, working at Leith’s ‘Good Food in the City’ and running her own successful catering company in London.