Spring can be temperamental with its weather patterns.  Sunny clear days act as teasers for the coming summer, yet a blast of south-westerly winds carrying a chill factor of Antarctic conditions are common occurrence too.   We then quickly step back to winter habits, donning our woolies and stoking the fire. This slow cook lamb shoulder is a simple one pot wonder meal – only 10 minutes prep and four hours in the oven.  It can be prepared a day ahead and reheated.  Serve with fresh greens and you’re ready for whatever the spring day weather report throws at you. 

serves 8

2 onions, halved and cut into 6 wedges

3 spring garlic stalk and bulb, sliced thinly  

1 lemon, quartered

1  teaspoon sea salt

¼ bunch rosemary sprigs

¼ bunch thyme sprigs

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2kg lamb shoulder 

800g kipfler potatoes

500ml chicken stock

finely grated zest of a lemon

¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan forced).  Rub lamb with ½ teaspoon sea salt.

Heat half of the oil in a heavy based ovenproof casserole that is large enough to hold the lamb shoulder, over a medium high heat.   Place lamb fat side down and cook for 10 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat and transfer meat to a plate.

Place the potatoes, onions, garlic, lemon, rosemary and thyme in the base of casserole. Add stock, remaining salt and stir to combine all ingredients then  spread evenly over base.  Place lamb shoulder fat side upwards on top of the vegetables, spreading the mixture around the lamb.  Drizzle over the remaining oil and cover with a sheet of baking paper.  Cover with tight fitting lid.

Place casserole dish over a high heat and bring to the boil then transfer to the oven. Cook for 31/2 to 4 hours, basting the meat every hour with cooking liquid.   The meat is ready when tender and easily pulls apart using a fork.

The meat can be carved into thick pieces or pulled apart into large chunks. Serve from the casserole or transfer onto a large serving platter.  Sprinkle with flat leaf parsley and lemon zest.

Serve with fresh greens, such as shaved fennel, or watercress leaves.

© Fiona Hammond September 2019

Mark Brancatisano