SPRING LAMB RECIPES FROM THE SWAN AND THE ANCHOR
as seen in EADT Suffolk magazine
Spiced and braised shoulder of lamb (serves 4-6)
We serve this with Indian-style lentils, turnip puree and a lamb samosa
1 shoulder of lamb boned and rolled (ask your butcher for the bones)
2 star anise
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1 onion, diced
1 head of garlic, whole
1tbsp olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
1 celery stick, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, diced
1tbsp tomato puree
500ml chicken stock
1/2 bunch thyme
The day before you want to cook the lamb combine the spices, onion, garlic and seasoning in a food processor with the oil and whizz till smooth. Smother the lamb with the marinade and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 200C. Put the lamb on top of the bones so they act as a trivet. Roast for 20 minutes, ensuring the meat’s exterior is caramelised.
Meanwhile, sweat off the celery, carrots and leek till soft, add the tomato puree and cook for 10 minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Pull the meat out after its first searing and drop the oven down to 140C. Pour the stock mixture over the lamb. It should cover three-quarters of the lamb – top up with water if necessary. Cover with foil and braise for at least 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
If you have the time and forethought, roast the meat for a languid 12 hours at 90C instead. Either way, the meat should be falling off the bone.
Steven’s braised shoulder of lamb has a warm kick to it, so needs a robust wine or ale to do it justice. Mark recommends a Gordon’s Finest Scotch Ale (8% abv) from Anthony Martin’s Brewery in Belgium.
He says: “Strong Scotch ales typically have a rich ruby/mahogany colour from the use of well-kilned malts and the addition of sugars. They are usually lightly hopped and have a degree of unfermented sweetness giving a warming, nutritive appeal.
Soft, cleansing carbonation allows the rich flavours of the beer to match the caramelisation of the cooked lamb and then to cut through the richness and seasoning leaving the palate refreshed and able to taste other facets of the dish.”
Prefer a wine? Mark suggests a 100% cabernet franc Domaine Grosbois Chinon ‘Clos du Noyer’ 2010 (12.8% abv). “It’s packed with lush red cherry and blackcurrant fruit, with a touch of leafy crunch on the palate,” he says, “and well-integrated tannins and minerally acidity give it structural support.”
The Anchor’s slow-roast Mediterranean-style shoulder of lamb (serves 4-6)
1 shoulder of lamb
3 whole heads garlic, plus several more cloves, crushed
2 large bunches rosemary
Fennel, thinly sliced using a mandolin
Fresh ripe tomatoes, skinned and deseeded
½ bottle white wine
Spring vegetables and fresh rosemary to serve
Wash the rosemary and place in a roasting dish with 3 heads of garlic. Put the lamb, skin side up, on top and roast at 150C for two-three hours or until the meat begins to fall apart when pushed.
While the lamb is cooking, sweat the onions, crushed garlic and fennel in olive oil till translucent. Add the tomatoes and saffron, cook for a few minutes then add ½ bottle white wine. Bring back to a simmer and reduce for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Remove the meat and the garlic bulbs from the dish. Press the garlic flesh from the bulbs and set aside. Drain the roasting liquor into the tomato braise.
Re-heat the braise, put into a big serving bowl with the shoulder of lamb on top. Garnish with fresh rosemary, the roasted garlic flesh. Serve with new potatoes.
"A delicious family recipe packed with lamb’s best flavour friends: rosemary and garlic. An ideal accompaniment”, says Mark,”is a Belgian Westmalle Dubbel (7% abv) from the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart near Antwerp.
Dark malts and dark candy sugar give a rich smooth mouthfeel with hints of mocha coffee and prunes overlaid with vanilla and raisins. The touch of roast finds a flavour hook with the roast lamb and caramelised flavours of the onions.”
For red wine aficionados, a Gigondas Domaine Les Pallieres ‘Terrasse du Diable’ 2009 (14.5% abv) works perfectly.
“This is Grenache at its best with fine silky redcurrant fruitiness, white pepper, ripe tannins and savoury acidity. The lovely herbal aromas from this lamb pick up the hints of ‘garrigue’ [the fragrant, low-growing vegetation typical of the area] and spice in the wine. Supple tannins and sweet red fruit flavours point up the sweetness of spring lamb and the savoury acidity is a lovely foil for the juices.”