There’s nothing quite like the scent of succulent roasting meat to set the mouth watering. And in my humble opinion, lamb reigns supreme of them all. Few meats can be simpler to cook or yield such effortless results. When cooked in the right way, lamb will pretty much look after itself, leaving you to get on with other things, like type up a food blog…
To accompany this, I wanted something equally ‘low maintenance’. I’ve therefore teamed it with confit tomatoes, which simply slow-cook in their own juices with garlic & herbs whilst the meat is in the oven.
To combat the richness of both lamb & tomatoes, the last minute addition of feta cheese provides that all important ‘lift’ & tang; just the right amount of salt and sourness to round off the palette and balance the flavour-profile.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that meals like this are time-consuming and fiddly; reserved solely for the weekend when you’re not in a rush & have ample time on your hands to slave in the kitchen. Well this was actually a midweek meal, cooked after work and a fitting treat to mark the end of a long day. This recipe is refreshingly straightforward yet carries an air of pure splendour – maximum results with minimum effort – what could be better?
Like all recipes on Country Walks in Ketosis, this dish is incredibly low in carbohydrate, which makes it perfect for those on a ketogenic diet, paleo-regime or diabetics both 1&2. But unlike many recipes which traditionally tick those boxes, this one is filling and substantial – so go ahead and give it a go. Just make sure to tell me how you got on!
Depending on your oven-type, preheat until good and hot: circa 190 – 200°c, gas mark 6-7. Place your shoulder of lamb into a sturdy roasting dish and sprinkle on a generous crust of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Is that it? Yes – nice and easy. The key however if knowing your cooker. If you have a fan over, the air-flow can have a tendency to dry the meat out as it washes over the surface and whips away the moisture. If using a fan oven, brown the meat in the oven for 20 minutes then pour a cupful of water into the tray and cover the top of the meat with tinfoil. This will ensure it comes out succulent, unctuous and divine. For all other methods (gas, aga, convection &tc) just ‘in it goes’ and leave it to its own devices. What could be simpler?
Depending on size (lambs don’t often have Joan Collins shoulders…), take the meat out after 1 hour 20 minutes. The surface should be dark brown and crisp. The scent alone will tell you it’s done. Cover the joint with a layer of tinfoil and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Once the lamb has gone into the oven, roughly chop an onion and place into a saucepan on a medium heat with a generous glug of olive oil. As the pan will be on the simmer for an hour or so, make sure it’s a good and sturdy one: people maintain that a bad workman blames his tools – I’m of a differing opinion… inferior equipment gives inferior results. So give yourself a break and blame the pan if it burns!
Once the onion starts to soften, throw in 2 roughly chopped salad tomatoes with their juice and a good handful of cherry tomatoes. Give the pan a quick stir then get on with the other ingredients.
Roughly chop a handful of rosemary leaves with two plump cloves or garlic. I tend to do them both at the same time because they smell so nice together and it’s quicker! Add this to the tomato mix along with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Leave the pan on a low heat, stirring occasionally for up to an hour.
Whilst this is cooking, chop and rinse your Chinese Leaf Cabbage then leave it to drain. You don’t have to use Chinese Leaf – savoy or any other cabbage leaf will do the job amply, save for the hard white cabbage reserved for coleslaw. That is perhaps a little too dense and strong tasting. Of course, it’s up to you however. Your dinner, your rules.
15 minutes before service, turn up the heat slightly & stir the cabbage into your confit. Leave this to wilt down and cook through. You want the leaves to soften but still retain a little texture. 10 minutes after that, stir in a good whack of spinach. I used a whole bag of the stuff. It cooks down to such a small amount, that you can afford to be heavy-handed.
Once your meat has rested, pile the confit, spinach & cabbage onto your serving plate next to the lamb. Crumble feta atop the whole thing like ‘a fantastical blizzard’ and garnish with freshly chopped herbs of your choice. Carve the lamb into unctuously tender chunks then dig it. Who’d have thought something so simple could taste this good…!
Thanks for reading and bon ap!