- 1 lamb shoulder on the bone
- 20 shallots, peeled and left whole
- 20 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 bundle of joy (herbs such as parsley stalks, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves, tied together lightly)
- ½ bottle white wine
- A ready supply of chicken stock
- 2 healthy tbsp Dijon mustard
- 4 healthy tbsp crème fraiche
- A few handfuls of fresh or frozen peas
- 2 bundles of mint, leaves picked and stalks retained for the bundle of joy
Season the shoulder well with sea salt and black pepper, then heat a large frying pan over a medium heat with a splash of olive oil and brown the lamb all over. Place it in an ovenproof dish or roasting tray large and deep enough to accommodate the joint with a little space. Gently sweat the shallots and garlic in the lamby frying pan for 3-4 mins, without colouring them, and nustle these around the shoulder with the bundle of joy.
Place the roasting tray over a medium heat and pour in the white wine. Reduce by half, then add the chicken stock and an extra glug of olive oil administered like squirts of factor 50 at the beach: a generous coating. While the liquid returns to a simmer, take a small bowl and whisk together the mustard and creme fraiche, loosening the mixture with a couple of spoonsful of the simmering stock. Pour the resulting sauce into the tray. The liquid does not have to cover everything – remember that you are looking for the alligators-in-the-swamp effect.
Place in a barely medium oven for at least 3 hours; the creme fraiche and meat juices unify while it blips away. Check the shoulder with a skewer and, when the meat is tender and yielding, add the peas and return to simmer in the oven for a few minutes longer. Reinforce the seasoning if needed, discipline your mint leaves and fold through to finish.
The leftover braising juices and slippery peas make an excellent sauce for farfalle – a favourite for staff dinners.
Recipe from The Book of St John (Ebury Press)
Images: Jason Lowe
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