When holidaying in Sicily I had the good fortune one night of choosing the lamb dish on the menu in a local trattatoria, the lamb was so divine I vowed to try to recreate a similar dish when I got home. The cut was a lamb shank and the meat was so juicy and tender there was no need for a knife at all; and you just knew it had been cooking for hours.
On my trip to my butchers to buy the lamb shanks to try to recreate the dish, I was disappointed to learn that they wouldn’t have shanks this week. Being one never to give in, and one who hasn’t an atom of patience I decided to get a shoulder of lamb boned and rolled instead. I wasn’t going to let a lack of shanks scarper my plans for dinner!!
I decided to pair the lamb dish with a white bean mash instead of pasta or potatoes, much to my husbands disgust! He saw the lack of potatoes (spuds) as ludicrous. However he was singing a different tune when he tasted the bean mash. So I’d definitely recommend giving it a go. I got the inspiration for this from a Nigella Lawson episode.
I don't claim this to be an authentic Italian recipe, but this is my take on a wonderful meal I had in Sicily.
I would add some juicy black olives to the end dish normally, but as this was a birthday dinner for the hubbie, (who hates olives) I decided to leave them out).
So here’s how I did it, my Italian Inspired Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb; the perfect Sunday winter warmer!!!
· 1kg shoulder of lamb, boned, rolled and tied (by your butcher)
· Olive oil
· 4 sprigs of rosemary
· 2 cloves of garlic, diced
· 1 white onion, chopped
· 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into wedges
· 1 tbsp tomato puree
· 2 glasses of white wine
· 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
· Pinch of sugar
· 2 Bay leaves
White Bean Mash
· 2 tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
· ½ tsp of chopped rosemary
· ½ a clove of garlic, minced
· Salt & pepper
· A knob (or 2) of butter
· 2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Season the shoulder well with salt and pepper
3. In a large frying pan, add the oil and sear the meat on all sides until browned
4. Add the rosemary and toss to infuse the meat
5. Remove the meat to a casserole dish.
6. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and allow to bubble for a moment or two.
7. Add the garlic, onion and tomato puree. And sauté for a few moments
8. Add the carrots, rosemary, sugar, and tinned tomatoes.
9. Refill the empty tomato tin with water and add this to the pan.
10. Once the liquid has come to a boil, then pour over the lamb into the casserole dish.
11. Cover the dish and put in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours.
12. To make the mash, sauté the garlic in a little oil with the rosemary.
13. Add the beans and warm through.
14. Using a potato masher, mash well ( I like it chunky)
15. Add the seasoning, butter and oil and mix well.
16. Keep warm until needed.
I must apologise for the end dish pictures. The problem I find with slow cooked meats is it can be quite a task to make them look super pretty & attractive and plated up in a mega fancy way. This is what it is, which is a modest and delicious home cooked dish - no frills, no beauty contest winner, just seriously good meat.
*** Rest meat for min. 15-20 minutes under some tinfoil before cutting****