23 Mar 2018 |
We’ve called this an Easter gathering because it reminds us of the Bank Holiday weekend back home, when the sun is desperately trying to warm up the garden and the house is full of people. But this is perfect for any spring day when you can get everyone together. The lamb should stay warm while you cook the potatoes and aubergines; just keep it tightly covered with foil.
Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with anchovy sauce
1 shoulder of lamb, with bone (about 2kg)
8 short rosemary sprigs
8 anchovy fillets in oil, plus the oil from the tin
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat your oven to 220ºC/gas 7.
With a sharp knife, pierce 8 deep incisions into the lamb at regular intervals. Stab a rosemary sprig through the middle of an anchovy and stuff the whole thing into the hole, pushing it down so the anchovy wraps around each side of the sprig and so that the sprig sits under the meat in between the layers of fat. Pour the oil from the anchovy tin over the meat and season lightly.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven setting to 160ºC/gas 3 and roast for another 3 hours, until the fat has turned golden brown and the meat is falling away from the bone. Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 170ºC/gas 3. Cover the lamb in foil and leave to rest while you cook the potatoes and aubergines.
80g unsalted butter, plus a little melted for brushing
1 tbsp olive oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced
1.5kg floury potatoes, Vivaldi variety (or King Edward if you can’t find Vivaldi), sliced 3mm thick
a few thyme sprigs
500ml hot chicken stock (homemade or good- quality shop-bought)
sea salt and black pepper
Use 20g of the butter to grease the base and sides of an ovenproof dish 35 x 24cm and 6cm deep.
Heat 40g of the remaining butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan on a low heat. Add the onions and cook until soft but not coloured, for about 15–20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add a layer of potatoes to the buttered dish, then sprinkle with salt and pepper (go easy with the salt). Add a layer of onions and some thyme and repeat with two more layers. Finish with a final layer of potatoes and press down so that all the layers make contact. Pour the hot stock evenly over the top and season again. Dot the surface with the remaining 20g butter.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook in the oven at 170ºC/gas 3 for 1 hour until the potatoes are soft. Remove from the oven, take off the foil and increase the oven temperature to 220°C/gas 7. Brush the surface with melted butter and return to the oven. Cook for a further 20–25 minutes, until the potatoes on top are crisp and golden.
Serve with aubergine gratin and broccoli with hazelnuts, and following with rhubarb crumble pots or your favourite Easter egg.