Finally there’s a chill in the air and even a touch of frost on the ground! Autumn weekends for me mean roast dinners and especially roast lamb. Of course, mint goes perfectly with lamb, as does anything a little sweet, and this slow roasted lamb shoulder with a sticky mint glaze – a little twist on my slow roasted lamb in sloe gin – uses mint jelly to create a delicious, sticky coating to make sweet, meltingly soft, falling-apart, no carving required, slow roasted lamb. Look out for jars labelled apple and mint jelly or just mint jelly (not mint sauce) in the supermarket. You can make your own (my Mum would be the expert here – I’ll have to ask her) but it involves straining, and frankly I feel life’s a bit short to tackle anything that involves muslin on a weekend. For the potatoes, use a whole bulb of garlic and just press on it gently with the heel of your hand to separate the cloves. Discard the very papery bits but don’t bother peeling them. I like to use large baking potatoes for my roasties. Allow one per person plus a couple of extra if you’re big eaters like my fellas.
For the slow roasted lamb shoulder with a sticky mint glaze
Serves 6 with tons of leftovers
You will need:
1 x 2 kg whole shoulder (or leg) of Welsh lamb
Salt and pepper
Rapeseed or olive oil
2 large red onions, peeled and quartered
1 glass red wine
1 jar mint jelly
1 tbsp plain flour
1 litre lamb stock (cube is fine)
For the garlic and herb roast potatoes
1kg large white potatoes
2 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used thyme and rosemary)
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves
Preheat the oven to gas 3, 160 degrees C
Place the lamb shoulder on a chopping board and stab it a few times with a sharp knife. Cut the ends of your sprigs of rosemary so they’re nice and sharp, then poke them into the holes.
Scatter the onions into the base of something oven proof with a lid, like a cast iron pot (or use a large non-stick roasting pan and some foil), then pop the lamb leg on top. Drizzle with olive oil and season really well with salt and pepper, then pour over the glass of red wine. Pop on the lid (or cover really well with foil) then just place into the oven and cook for about three hours, basting occasionally.
After three hours, take the lamb out of the oven. At this stage I drain off quite a lot of the cooking juices and reserve them for making a delicious gravy. Doing it now also allows the fat to separate so you can remove it. Leave just enough so that you can continue basting.
Take out the rosemary and then brush the lamb all over with your mint jelly. You might just want to use a couple of tablespoons, or you might want to use the whole jar. It depends how gooey you want the coating on your lamb. Put the lamb back in the oven, but this time, leave the lid off, for about another hour and a half (even two hours if you have time).
For the garlic and herb roasted potatoes
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Put them into a large pan of salted water, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for around 8 minutes (watch you don’t leave them too long – you don’t want them to fall apart).
Drain the potatoes and leave them in the colander to really dry out.
Mix the flour with the chopped herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then toss the potatoes in the mixture, coating each one really well. Add in the garlic cloves.
Once the lamb’s got about 30 minutes of cooking time left, put a roasting tin into the oven with enough oil to thinly coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, add in the potato and garlic mixture.
When the lamb’s ready (give it a little stab with a fork – the meat should just fall off the bone), transfer the lamb to a warm plate, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Now you can increase the oven temperature to gas 4/180 degrees C for the last half an hour to really crisp up the potatoes. Turn them over occasionally while they’re cooking.
Don’t forget to make the gravy: pop the flour into a saucepan over a medium heat and add enough of the reserved meat juices (skim off the worst of the fat) to make a paste . Turn up the heat, then whisk in the rest of the meat juices, and then slowly whisk in the lamb stock. Bubble until thick and season to taste. Now’s the time to put on your chosen veg to cook as well.
Shred the lamb at the table, then serve with roast potatoes, your lovely gravy and seasonal vegetables. Delicious!
I’m delighted to be a Llambassador (geddit?) for PGI Welsh Lamb (PGI is similar to the appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system used in France, protecting the product and allowing it a legal protected status). The unique quality and delicious taste of Welsh lamb has come from hundreds of years of farming traditions, mixed with the unique environment, like the heavy rainfall that creates the luscious Welsh grass and heathers that give PGI Welsh Lamb its unique taste. Find out more about Welsh lamb here.