It is very traditional to eat the new season’s lamb with fresh peas at Easter in Italy, and a dish such as this is not uncommon for lunch on Easter Sunday when the whole family will gather together to celebrate one of the most important religious feasts of the year. The secret of success for this recipe is in leaving the lamb to cook over a very low heat; in this way the lamb and the rest of the ingredients will cook through well, and all the juices will ooze out to create a lovely sauce.
- 1 kg boned lamb shoulder, cut into large chunks
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, whole and crushed
- 20 g anchovy fillets
- 1 handful thyme sprigs
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- 250 ml white wine
- 25 ml white wine vinegar
- 250 g fresh or frozen peas
- 400 g potatoes, skins left on and cut into quarters
- 200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Season the lamb chunks with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sweat the onions, carrot and celery until soft.
Add the garlic, anchovies, thyme and chilli and continue to cook, stirring, until the anchovies have almost dissolved into the oil.
Add the lamb chunks and seal well all over.
Stir in the wine and allow to reduce down by about half, then add the vinegar. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the peas, potato and tomatoes, cover again and continue to cook for about 1 hour, until the sauce has reduced by half.
Remove from the heat and serve with lots of good toasted bread.