Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with pumpkin and sprouting broccoli
Sunday 03 October 2010
When I was a child we often ate lamb accompanied by roasted pumpkin. It is a lovely combination, both warm and sweet. The lamb is slow cooked here until it's almost falling apart – it is the nicest way I know to eat it.
1 shoulder of British lamb
6 cloves garlic
1 small bunch marjoram
3 tbsp good-quality red-wine vinegar (such as Volpaia)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe pumpkin
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 dried red chilli
1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
500g/1lb sprouting broccoli
1 litre/13/4 pints water
Heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas3. Lay the lamb shoulder on a baking tray. Place the garlic, marjoram and anchovies in a pestle and pound with a mortar until you have a rough paste. Add the vinegar and stir to combine.
Rub the wet paste into the lamb, massaging with your fingers. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover with foil and place in the oven to cook for three to four hours, basting occasionally. Uncover for the last half hour.
Next, peel and chop the pumpkin into wedges and place in a bowl. Season with salt, crumble over the chilli and pour over the olive oil. Toss until the pumpkin is coated. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of the lamb's cooking time.
Trim the broccoli of any damaged outer leaves (you want to keep as many as possible, though, as they are delicious) and trim the woody ends. Pour the water into a pan and let it come to a rolling boil, drop in the broccoli and cook for two to three minutes. Drain and season.
To serve, the lamb will literally come away with a spoon – it will also have produced a delicious, vinegary, slightly hot, salty sauce. Serve all together, as I have done, or in separate dishes if you prefer.
While in Sri Lanka earlier in the year I ate this warm (rather than hot) curry. I often cook it now alongside grilled fish, but it tastes balanced and perfect without any other accompaniment.
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