10 hours slowly cooked lamb shoulder
During the week, a work friend, viz., MH, mentioned that she cooked two legs of lamb for 10 hours each for Christmas dinner. MH has a large family who all live in rural Victoria.
I’m quite fond of lamb, but I prefer the forequarter rather than a hind leg (also known as the shoulder). I am aware a lot of people aren’t keen on lamb meat. The odour from cooking and cooked lamb is distinct, and some people are put off by it. One of my daughters isn’t keen on lamb meat. Part of her distaste is that she eschews all animal fat and lamb can be quite fat. I like eating breakfast with this daughter because she cuts off all her bacon fat. Guess who gets the discarded bacon fat?
My anatomical preference for lamb is in contrast to my taste for chicken. For chicken, I am a thigh lover over the breasts and wings.
As I was thinking about this meal, I thought I’d try to get things started in the slow cooker at about 6 am so I’d have the meat ready well before my 6 pm dinner deadline.
The day didn’t start as planned. Oddly for me, I slept in and didn’t start the preparation until about 6.30 am.
Last night, I went for a walk and foraged (stole or acquired) a large amount of rosemary from a few bushes on the footpath outside a local hotel.
I browned the fat and muscle meat in a large frying pan over high heat to prepare the lamb.
I added all the rosemary in the slow cooker after I scrunched it up and rubbed it vigorously in my hands to break down the leaves a little to release the natural oils. I also cut a knob of garlic in half, sliced one white onion and put it into the cooking vessel.
Add about ¼ cup of dry oregano leaves and a cup of stock.
I then put the lamb into the slow cooker and discovered it was slightly too big. I had to get a knife and cut away some muscle bundles to get the lid to seal correctly.
After ten hours, I opened the slow cooker and removed the shoulder. The fat and muscle meat were coming away from the bones, making the transfer to a tray in one piece difficult. The meat’s tenderness wasn’t a problem because I wanted to pull the muscle bundles off than carve away large cuts from the bone.
Most of the lamb meat is now in an airtight container and refrigerated. Lamb will be a feature of lunches and dinners this week.
If you’re wondering what I did with the cooking juices, well wonder no more. I filtered out the rosemary, garlic, and onion and used the liquid to make a gravy.
I made a roux with a little flour and butter in a saucier pan and cooked it for about 3 minutes. I added the meat juices and cooking liquid and stirred it until a gravy consistency developed.
To accompany tonight’s lamb shoulder roast, I roasted a wedge of Kent pumpkin as well as some broccolini.
I coated the pumpkin with black peppercorns, iodised salt crystals, hot chilli flakes and refined white sugar which I ground in a mortar with a pestle. I like adding a little sugar to help with the caramelisation of the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in an oven at 180 °C for about 45 minutes.
I gently rubbed the broccolini with some olive oil and cooked it with the pumpkin for the 20 minutes of the cooking period.
MH and another workmate, viz., AP, gave me a cultured butter gift on Thursday. I see lamb and gravy rolls on buttered bread being a thing next week.