I love lamb, slow cooked, especially when accompanied by fresh mint sauce, mashed or baby potatoes and spring vegetables. For me this is the ultimate comfort dish and my favourite Sunday dinner when I was a child.
45 grams fresh mint leaves – very finely chopped
150 ml malt vinegar
2 tbsp unrefined caster sugar
Lamb and Vegetables
2 kg shoulder of lamb, bone removed
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet Spanish onion – peeled, halved, thickly sliced
1 large red onion – peeled, halved, thickly sliced
450 grams carrots – peeled and thickly sliced on diagonal
250 grams turnip – peeled and cut into large chunks
200 grams parsnip – trimmed, central core removed, thickly sliced
50 grams celery – washed, trimmed, finely chopped
4 small sprigs thyme – just the top 7 to 8 cm
450 ml hot chicken or lamb stock
100 ml good quality red wine
1 kg King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 sprigs fresh mint
100 grams unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Chop the mint, transfer to a small bowl, reserve.
- Put the vinegar and sugar into a stainless steel saucepan (i.e. non reactive) over a low heat, bring up to a simmer while stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour into the bowl, stir until well blended; cover and put to one side.
Lamb/Vegetables and Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC; 360ºF; gas mark 4.
- Season the lamb with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a large flame proof casserole dish over a medium heat, when hot add the oil – brown the lamb all over, put to one side.
- Add the onions, gently fry over a medium-low heat until translucent, add the carrot, turnip, parsnip, celery and sprigs of thyme, fry for 2 minutes while stirring constantly.
- Return the lamb, pour in the wine, bring to the boil then add the hot stock.
- Cover and cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours, or until the meat is fully cooked and tender.
- Put the potatoes and mint into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, cook for 15 minutes or until tender; add the salt after 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove from the oven, take out the meat – cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the vegetables to a dish, keep warm.
- Remove the herbs and pour the cooking liquid into a blender, process until smooth, reheat, taste and adjust seasoning if required; keep warm.
- When the potatoes are ready, drain through a colander, put through a rice, add the melted butter and whisk until blended; season to taste.
- Carve the lamb, place onto a serving dish, arrange the vegetables around the meat.
- Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large bowl – serve with the gravy and mint sauce.
- If preferred – cook small new season potatoes with the mint in boiling water until tender, adding the salt at the end of cooking – these can either be peeled or unpeeled, toss in a little butter before serving.