• Six hour slow roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary jus, mint pesto and charred red capsicums (The Great Australian Cookbook)

I have been known to roast the shoulder for four or so hours, throw the whole baking dish in the back of the car and drive to our country house to effortlessly finish the dish in the oven there before my guests arrive. It works brilliantly!

Serves
4

Preparation

40min

Cooking

6hr

Skill level

Easy
By
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So what I'm saying is you can get a lot of the cooking done prior to the day, even a day or two beforehand, and finish it off closer to the time.

I always keep the veggies, cooking liquid and leftover lamb and add barley and more stock for a lovely soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 lamb shoulder, about 1.6 kg
  • 1 bulb garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 large carrot, chopped roughly
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped roughly
  • 2 brown onions, skins removed and chopped roughly
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar, optional
  • I litre chicken stock

Roasted red capsicums

  • 2 red capsicums
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • 1 clove garlic, optional
  • 1 sprig rosemary, optional 

Mint pesto 

  • 2 bunches common garden mint, washed
  • 150 g peanuts, toasted (see notes)
  • 80 g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 250 ml olive oil, plus extra for covering pesto
  • 10 baby potatoes 
  • 100 g butter
  • small bunch sage leaves

Cook's notes

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.

Instructions

Marinating time: overnight

1. In a large baking dish, place the chopped vegetables, garlic, herbs, peppercorns, balsamic and the lamb. Pour over the red wine and season with salt flakes. Cover and marinate overnight, turning after a few hours.

2. On the next day, set your oven to 140°C and add the chicken stock, into the pan and turn the lamb again. Cover the lamb with non-stick baking paper and then a tight layer of foil. Place in the oven and cook for 5½ hours. 

3. Remove the lamb from the oven and increase the heat to 200°C. Remove the baking paper and foil from the lamb and bake skin side up for 30 minutes.

4. For the roasted red capsicums, line a flat tray with foil and grill the red capsicums turning until the skins have blackened and blistered, about 15 minutes. These can also be charred over the flames on a gas oven top. Place the capsicums in a bowl, cover with cling film, set aside for 10 minutes, then slip the skins off the flesh, discard the seeds, finely slice then place in a bowl. These can be flavoured with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. 

5. For the pesto, pick off the leaves from the mint, discarding the woody stalks. Place the mint leaves in a food processor, along with the peanuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Start the processor and slowly pour in the olive oil, blending until the pesto comes together, but is still chunky and not too smooth; this should only take a couple of minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. Using a spatula, scrape down the bowl, then spoon pesto into a sterilized jar. Pour a little more olive oil over the top of the pesto to help preserve it. 

6. For the potatoes, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes and reduce to a simmer, simmer for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Drain and place in a serving bowl. Place a frying pan over medium-high heat, add the butter, leave until the butter starts to foam, add the sage leaves and shake the pan, watch carefully until the butter turns golden brown and sage leaves have becomes crispy. Remove from heat. Pour over the potatoes and serve immediately. 

7. Take the lamb from the oven and strain the cooking juices from the pan and place into a clean pot. Ladle the oil from the top and reduce to a third, then add the veal jus, if using.

8. Pull the shoulder blade from the bone, it should just slip out. 

9. Place on a serving platter, top with the roasted red capsicums and pesto, with the jus on the side. Serve with the potatoes and sage butter. 

Tips

• If you keep the pesto in a jar in the fridge, and always top it up with fresh olive oil after each use, this delightful pesto should last for 1 month.

• If there are peanut allergies in the family, use another nut instead, such as macadamias or cashews.

• You can use any soft herbs to make pesto such as basil, coriander or parsley.