Dish of the day: Seven hour-braised shoulder of lamb

THIS seven hour lamb is one of my favourite things to prepare at home and it is a staple on my menu at Tom’s Kitchen. I love that I can put everything in a roasting tray then just chuck it in the oven. It is simple but allows really lovely flavours to develop during the long cooking time. Since it doesn’t require much attention, it leaves me with more time to spend with my family and friends.

A recipe like this allows the meat to speak for itself, so I always visit my local butcher to ensure I’m using the very best quality lamb. In the colder months, I like to prepare a hearty mash alongside the lamb but when the weather warms it’s just as good with a bowl of fresh minted peas. To serve, I prefer to shred the meat from the bone for a more rustic, family-style feel but you can also slice the lamb for a more elegant presentation. At Tom’s Kitchen the dish is placed on the table for all to share. (As told to Naomi Mdudu).

This hearty lamb shoulder recipe, with its creamy mashed potato pairing, makes a wonderful and rustic lamb dinner. Slowly braising the lamb in a rich sauce ensures that the meat's full, immense flavour is drawn out. You can either slice or shred the meat from the bone to serve. Absolutely delicious.

Seven hour-braised shoulder of lamb with onions, thyme and balsamic

Serves 4
■ 1 shoulder of lamb, 2.5kg in weight
■ 2 litres of water
■ 150ml olive oil
■ 12g salt
■ 20g fresh thyme
■ 20g butter
■ 2 bulbs of garlic, cloves peeled
■ 150ml milk
■ Sea salt and black pepper
■ 600g peeled potatoes, cut in ¼s
■ 8 medium onions, peeled
■ 12 turns of milled black pepper
■ 250ml balsamic vinegar

1 Before you cook the lamb, leave it out of the fridge for a good hour so the meat is at room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4.

3. Rub the olive oil into the meat and season with salt and pepper. Place the meat in a large casserole dish with the whole peeled onions. The latter can be drizzled with olive oil and seasoned as well. Place the casserole dish into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the lamb and onions have coloured.
4. Remove the casserole from the oven and add the thyme and the garlic cloves.

5. Reduce the oven temperature to 110˚C/ 225˚F/Gas 1/4, and return the pan to the oven. Cook for five hours with the lid on, add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for a further 1-1½ hours.

6. Remove the garlic and onions from the casserole dish and keep to one side. Place the lamb back in the oven, continuing to baste it with the vinegar during the reducing. Be careful it doesn’t reduce too much. Once it’s reduced to the right consistency, add back the onions and garlic and serve with mash.

7. Place the cut potato into the cold water with 10g salt in a pan, place on the heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes then tip the potatoes into a colander to drain.

8. Place the potatos back in the pan and dry out on a low heat for one minute then add the butter, salt, pepper and the warm milk while you mash.

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