Thursday, 6 August 2009

Slow Cooked Lamb (Video post)

It’s only so much time that can be spent in a state of blissful relaxation before the mind turns to food.

On holiday breakfast tends to be a mere distraction – a hastily gobbled croissant, piece of fruit or biscotti washed down with a short, sharp coffee. Lunch provides a brief respite from the heat of the day, usually some bread and cheese with a couple of tomatoes on the side.

But dinner is where the magic happens. This is the real centrepiece of the day where effort truly pays off and the gentle preparation can be done whilst gradually slipping into a state of happy inebriation.

As such, the majority of my days were spent thinking about what to cook that evening.

Being in possession of a pizza oven, we, naturally, cooked pizza. But the giant domed edifice was still warm come the following morning: the perfect conditions to slow cook some local lamb.

After adding some more fuel we went in search of the meat and returned with two whole shoulders – almost a quarter of the beast – ready to be browned off, sat atop some freshly picked rosemary and crushed garlic and shoved into the waiting furnace, cooking slowly in a winey bath until it emerged lovingly tender and achingly delicious.

It also seemed a good time to indulge in my first ever video post so please be kind. I’m still learning.

And, yes, I really did come that close to setting my head on fire. Look carefully and you will see the innocent, yet telltale, wisp of smoke rising from my reddening forehead.

Slow cooked Lamb

Leg of lamb is fine, and if that’s your sort of thing then I’m happy for you. But shoulder is the business end, where the real flavour is. It does a bit more work, and as such should be cooked longer and slower, but the effort is worthwhile.

It’s also slightly fattier which will baste the meat from the inside keeping it juicy, rich, tasty and tender.

Serves 8-10

Two lamb shoulders, complete with neck
Two bulbs of garlic, squashed lightly under the flat of a knife
Half a lemon
Two handfuls (think bricklayer’s size rather than manicurist) of rosemary
Salt and pepper
Half a bottle of red wine

Season the lamb with salt and pepper all over and brown in a large frying pan. Layer half the rosemary and garlic in a casserole dish big enough to hold everything comfortably. Nestle the lamb on top and then deglaze the frying pan with red wine.

Put the rest of the rosemary and garlic on top of the lamb, squeeze over the lemon then pour over the wine.

Cook in a 200 year old wood burning oven for about four hours, turning and basting halfway through. Temperature? Pretty hot.

NB – Make sure you don’t get too close to the oven and singe your fringe.

If you are only in possession of a regular oven go for about 120 degrees. Serve with potatoes and maybe a token salad. Maybe.

For more slow cooked and half baked musings, follow me on Twitter


The Larder Lout said...

Cracking video mate. Cooked something very similar in France though sadly without a wood burning oven. I worked on an organic farm/restaurant in Italy last year and was ic lighting pizza oven. Many a forehead burn was endured.

matt said...

you seriously make me want to build a pizza oven in my yard now. This is awesome. Great video too.

Just Cook It said...

Larder Lout - Thanks indeed. The oven makes such a difference to the flavour of the food. Amazing.

Matt - Thank you. I wish I could cook every meal in one of those. Just so much fun and the food that comes out of them is incredible

QGIRL said...

loved it!

how do you stay so fit/lean and love food so much?!

p.s. my dream kitchen is an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven.

Nick Weston said...

Dude! great post! enjoyed the video the clay oven a la treehouse working but it still likes to crack...made a loaf though! Let me know when you want a visit.


eat pictures said...

great job
so many food videos (including some on national newspaper websites) are totally unwatchable
but for several reasons you got it right with this one
stunning setting
simple filming
simple recipe
natural presentation
genuine setbacks (rake struggle, fringe burn - ha)
excellent looking food

Just Cook It said...

QGirl - Thank you! I (try) to run as much as possible which seems to kee the belly at bay. But good food doesn't necessarily need to be unhealthy. It's all about balance, I guess.

Nick - Thanks indeed. I saw the pics of the clay oven - amazing.

Eat Pictures - You're too kind. Thank you so much

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Is that your very own home-built pizza oven? I've always dreamed of having one. The cooking possibilities would then be infinite...

Laura said...

I could barely hear your voice but I could hear the cicadas in the background. What a lovely day it must have been. And the lamb must have been incredible. Lambs in Italy are much smaller than the ones in the States, I can only imagine the tenderness.

An outdoor oven is one my list when we can afford redoing the backyard.

Anonymous said...

inspiring...of to umbria in 4 days with the promise of pizza ovens and fine ingredients- might just try this.
good video - most people end up looking like a twat but you don't (at all)

Just Cook It said...

Helen - Sadly not my own. It belongs to the house we stayed in when we were in Umbria. I'd love to build one though

Laura - I know, we had a few 'technical' issues! The lamb was pretty small but the flavour was incredible

Thanks Rachel, good to know I don't look like a twat! Have a great time in Umbria and let me know how you get on with the pizza oven.

Hopie said...

Sorry about your fringe but we appreciate your dedication! Love the video and that oven is amazing. I want one ;-)

Antonio Tahhan said...

the rosemary/lamb combo is one of my absolute favorites. fantastic video!