“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
― Oscar Wilde
My name is Jo and I have an addiction to food porn… It’s what I read when I don’t have to.
It’s also what I subscribe to (Gourmet Traveller, anyone?) and it’s what I watch. It doesn’t bother me one whit that I can’t eat anything they make, The Great British Bake Off is my guilty pleasure. I’d like to have George over to teach him how to hold a knife, but Masterchef is my crack. My (reasonably extensive) cookbook collection is what I turn to when I’m seeking enlightenment (of the foodie kind!) My heroes are people like Fergus Henderson and Nigel Slater and Peter Gordon and Christine Manfield.
It’s true. I admit it. But, only to you.
So, if Mr Wilde was right, I am a glutton when I can’t help it. A glutton for all things food…
Over Christmas of 2015, when I was visiting the family bach*, I picked up my Mum’s copy of Dee Nolan’s, ‘A Food Lover’s Pilgrimage Along the Camino to Santiago De Compostela‘.
Books that combine the pleasures of good food and travel are among my special favourites, and this one is just gorgeous – It’s full of imagery – both written and photographic – of sublime cooking with lots of fresh, luscious produce.
The book’s message is very much about just why we should care about what we eat and how it is produced, why we need the opportunity to escape and travel the world, and why Dee found herself connecting with the soil. Right in my wheelhouse.
You should check it out if you get the opportunity. It’s beautiful.
One of my favourite farmers at the Carriageworks Farmers Market is George from paddock-to-plate Farmer George lamb. Not only is George up for a chin-wag (chat!) whenever you stop by, his lamb is always so good. And, as a Kiwi, that’s pretty high praise!
I often pick up a shoulder of lamb from George and make a version of my SUBLIME Four-Hour Lamb. Lamb is a firm favourite at our place – not least because of my heritage – and this recipe is on high rotation.
But, this time I wanted to try somehing different. I remembered a confit of lamb recipe I had spotted in Dee Nolan’s wonderful book.
So, today I bring you this – my adaptation of Dee Nolan’s recipe. And, holy-moly is it good!
One small note – I prefer to cook my meat on the bone, if I can. If I was making this totally dinner-party worthy recipe for guests, I’d get my butcher to bone the lamb shoulder to make for easier and more elegant carving.
This recipe cooks the lamb ‘pink’ – if, like my Dad, you prefer your lamb more on the ‘well-done’ side, you’ll need to adjust the cooking times.
You will need to start this recipe the night before
- 2 kilo (3½ pound) shoulder of lamb
- 1 bunch of rosemary
- ½ bunch of thyme
- 4 cloves garlic
- zest of one lemon
- 1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 onions
- 150g (5 oz) black olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- The day before you want to serve your lamb, pop the lamb shoulder into a rimmed ceramic dish.
- Pick th leaves of the rosemary and the thyme and chop finely. Set aside in a small bowl. Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to herbs. Add lemon zest and mix to incorporate.
- Using a paring knife, pierce the lamb several times. Sprinkle over half the herb mix and cover the remaining half before placing into the fridge.
- Pour the olive oil over the lamb. With clean hands, massage the herbs and oil into the meat, turning to ensure the whole joint is covered. Cover and place into the fridge, preferably overnight.
- two hours before cooking, remove the lamb from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
- Heat your oven to 100°C (210° F). Uncover the lamb and massage again for a few minutes.
- Place a heavy frypan over a medium heat. Carefiully brown the meat on all sides. Take time to do this properly (the low cooking temperature will mean your lamb will not 'roast' as usual). Pop the lamb into a casserole dish for cooking. Sprinkle generously with salt.
- Peel and slice your onions. Return the frypan to a medium-low heat and add onions and olive oil from marinade. Sauté the onions until soft, stirring often - about 8 minutes.
- Pour the onions and oil over the lamb. Add remaining herbs.
- Place uncovered in the oven for 2½ hours, basting occasionally.
- Turn the lamb over and add olives and capers, before popping back in the oven for a further 2½ hours.
- Allow the lamb to rest before carving. Be generous with the olive and caper sauce - it tastes amazing!
Some ideas for accompaniments:
- MIGHTY Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Rosemary
- RIDICULOUSLY GOOD Roasted Carrot & Thyme Mash
- ESSENTIALS Roasted Vegetables
E N J O Y !
*New Zealand holiday home