Traditionally, a shoulder of lamb was always one of the cheaper cuts but if you cook it long and slow it will result in the most tender and juicy meat. Maman Blanc never used stock to make a gravy – just water, herbs and a splash of wine added to the delicious cooking juices.
1 ½ - 2kg
new season’s shoulder of lamb
lamb bones and trimmings
rosemary, leaves picked, finely chopped
garlic bulb, halved horizontally
white wine, such as dry Chardonnay
Lightly score the skin of the lamb.
Rub all over with the salt, pepper, chopped herbs and olive oil. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. The salt and herb rub will permeate the lamb with a subtle flavour.
The meat needs to be out of the fridge for at least a couple of hours before cooking to ensure it reaches room temperature before going into the oven.
Preheat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large heavy-duty roasting pan over a medium heat.
Add the lamb bones and meat trimmings and colour, turning from time to time, for 7–10 minutes until lightly golden. Do not colour the bones too much, or the resulting jus will taste bitter and astringent.
Add the garlic and brown for 3 minutes, then take the roasting pan off the heat.
Sit the seasoned lamb shoulder on top of the bones and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. The bones serve two purposes. Firstly, they provide a platform for the lamb joint, allowing the heat to circulate all around it, facilitating even cooking. If the joint sits directly on the base of the pan, the meat in direct contact is liable to dry out. Secondly, the caramelised bones provide the basis for a wonderful pan jus.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, bring the wine to the boil and let bubble for 30 seconds, then add 400ml water, the bay leaf and thyme.
Take the lamb out of the oven and baste the joint with the pan juices, removing any excess fat. Add the wine mixture to the roasting pan, stirring to scrape up the sediment on the base of the pan. Adding water to the pan will lift the caramelised meat juices from the bottom of the pan and the bones, creating a flavourful jus at the end. It will also keep the shoulder of lamb moist during cooking.
Turn the oven to 150ºC/Gas 2. Cover the meat loosely with a piece of foil and return to the oven. Roast for a further 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If, at the end of cooking, the pan juices are reduced right down, stir in about 100ml water to extend the jus.
Remove the lamb from the oven. Strain the juices into a small saucepan and remove the excess fat from the surface. Set the lamb aside to rest.
Reheat the juices until bubbling, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a warmed sauceboat.
A turnip and potato gratin would be an excellent accompaniment here, as well as a large serving dish of braised seasonal vegetables.
This recipe is adapted from the book Kitchen Secrets
Raymond’s love of delicious food is lifelong. Years of experience have given him a rich store of knowledge and the skill to create fantastic dishes that work time after time. With a range of achievable and inspirational recipes for cooks of all abilities - and useful tips throughout - this book brings Gallic passion and precision into the home kitchen.