I’ve said it before – I’m a country boy. I grew up in a small Lancashire village that is idiosyncratic of what England countryside should be. One of the best times of year happens to be round about now. A lot of my farmer friends would be pulled out of school and the lambing season would begin, it also meant our Sunday roasts would change from beef to lamb. I love lamb. It’s something that needs a little extra attention otherwise it can be tough as boots and as dry as hell.
Here are a couple of simple lamb recipes that you can’t lose with. As a rule, just don’t leave it in too long and allow for time. You can always cook your piece a little more, you can’t undo overcooking! Also, feel free to experiment, lamb works amazingly well with garlic and rosemary and you can even add a little lemon zest to it. If you’re feeling even more confident, add some anchovies! If getting away from the traditional approach is more your style, you can try adding harissa paste. The misses and I always try to keep a pot of this lying around, just incase you need to add a little flair to a boring Tuesday night meal.
Step 1 – Come see me or give me a call before you’re planning on cooking. We can talk over your kitchen limitations and figure out the best solution for you.
Step 2- Just follow these recipes, add your own personalized touches when needed, and you’ll be reet!
So for this I’m going on the basis of one rack has 6-8 ribs, one rack per couple leaving some cheeky leftovers!
First things first, please make sure the lamb has been out of the fridge for a little so it is not straight from the tundra, then get that oven to around 180c.
Season the lamb all over and carefully sear all sides in a super hot frying pan, getting it good and brown.
Let it rest first then place onto a tray and into a preheated oven at 190c for around 20 minutes, give or take 5 mins depending on how you like your meat. Lamb can be served with anything really. Currently the wife and I are into ‘simplicity’ so I’d say just some salad with a light vinaigrette and maybe a few cherry tomatoes that you can add into the tray with your lamb.
Harissa Lamb Shoulder
This is awesome shredded and served with some mint yoghurt in a wrap or pita. It also happens to look like a boat load of effort has been put in, when really it’s pretty simple.
For the rub. (or buy yourself a paste if you don’t fancy this)
- A handful of coriander seeds,
- A handful of cumin seeds
- A little bit less than a handful of caraway
- A pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you’re feeling daring)
- Half a handful of smoked paprika
- A good pinch or two of salt
- 4 large garlic cloves smashed into a paste
- A good lug of olive oil
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- Few sprigs of thyme and rosemary
- Drizzle of honey if you like it sweeter
My favourite is a bone-in square cut lamb shoulder, (around 3kg).
You can make the rub in advance if needed and will last in your fridge for a few weeks. Basically, toast all the seeds in your oven for then grind them to a powder, add the other powders and liquids and mix… Done!
Now for the lamb.
I like to score the meat with a knife so that the paste, which you massage all over, gets deep into the meat adding that punch of flavour. You going to want to let the paste do its work, so over night is best but HK is tough on the old time frame so the minimum is a couple of hours.
Pop your lamb in a deep roasting pan and into a preheated oven at 200c for 20 minutes.
Carefully remove then carefully cover with foil, remembering to seal all the edges.
Lower the heat to 160c and get that lamb back in for around 4 hours. You’re after that awesome pulled-meat texture so if it is not coming away from the bone, give it a little longer.
When ready, leave it to rest for 10-20 minutes. After, rip it up using a couple of forks, I tend to do this in the roasting pan so the melted fat keeps the meat nice and juicy.
I’d serve this in a pitta or wrap with some fresh coriander leaves and mint yoghurt (natural yoghurt, squeeze of lemon juice and ripped up mint leaves).