Ingredients for Lamb:
3 x Medium white onions, sliced thinly using a mandolin
1kg x Charlotte Potatoes or any other waxy potato, peeled and about 1inch sliced using a mandolin
1 x Bunch or packet of fresh thyme (leaves only)
1 x Shoulder of lamb on the bone
1 x Garlic bulb
500 ml chicken stock
Suggested Accompanying Dishes:
For the Christening, I provided Braised Red Cabbage which I prepared the night before and just reheated. Along with Chantilly Carrots (peeled, cut into quarters and boiled with a little sugar), served with dots of butter.
Others serve with green beans, curly kale or other greens.
I do really believe that you need to buy your shoulder of lamb from a good butcher rather than a supermarket, simply because you get a bigger piece and as this is not an expensive cut it makes sense. First things first, preheat the oven to 130C/Gas 1.
Then get out your mandolin and slice your onions so that they are wafer thin, then move the blade so that you can slice the potatoes at about a centimetre thick each. If you don't have a mandolin where the blade moves to give you different thicknesses, then it might be easier to chop them. Once you have sliced the onions and potatoes, layer them into the roasting tin, sprinkling the thyme liberally over everything.
Grab the lamb, place on a wooden block (or plastic chopping board) skin-side up and with a really sharp knife make some incisions (liberally). Push a peeled clove of garlic into each hole, making sure you push the garlic right the way down into the meat so that you don't have the garlic popping out the hole - if it is, it will burn which is something you don't want.
Now return to the vegetables in the roasting tin and pour the chicken stock over the onions, thyme and potatoes until all is pretty much submerged. Season with salt and pepper the top side of the meat and place the shoulder on top of the vegetables. Make sure that the lamb is not hanging over the roasting tray, as you don't want to any of the fat to drip outside the tray and into your oven, as lamb fat is really tough to clean.
Place the roasting tray with the lamb into the oven for 4.5-5 hours, or until the potatoes are crisp on top and soft inside. Once the lamb has been in the oven for about 4 hours, take out of the oven and pour most of the juices into a jug, pop the lamb back into the oven and continue cooking it. Place the jug of juices into the freezer for abut 15mins until the fat has become solid and you can easily remove it so that all you have left is the chicken stock and lamb juices.
On to the gravy, pour the juices (without the fat) into a pan, then take a teacup and mix 5 tsp of the juice with a tsp of cornflour. Bring the pan of meat juices to a simmer and whisk in the cornflour mixture. Continue whisking until the gravy has thickened slightly or to a thickness you like.
When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. At this juncture, you should put on whatever greens or vegetables you are serving.
To serve, shred the lamb onto a large platter, it is easiest to use your carving knife and fork but don't be surprised if it literally falls off the bone when you cut into it. Just make sure you carve into serving portions. On the other side of the platter, place the potato and onion mixture and the jug of gravy, then let your guests help themselves. Utterly delish and a super dish that goes a long way - no FHB required!