Steven Doherty's classic slow-cooked lamb shoulder recipe involves both roasting and braising the lamb to ensure perfectly tender meat that just melts in the mouth. The chef likes to serve this as a sharing dish, with the meat in the centre of the table surrounded by big bowls of minted mustard mashed potato and delicate petit pois (cooked the French way with lettuce and bacon) so that everyone can help themselves.
Working as the head chef at Le Gavroche in the 1980s cemented Steven Doherty's status as a legendary chef, but after falling in love with Cumbria he kick-started the gastropub scene in the county and now cooks honest, hearty food at Lakeland's First Floor Café.
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Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 5
Lightly season the lamb with salt and pepper and rub with a little oil. Place in a large roasting dish and cook for 25 minutes until golden
2kg boneless rolled lamb shoulder
ground white pepper
1 dash of sunflower oil
Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/gas mark 1
Add the onions, garlic and thyme to the roasting dish and mix well. Cover with tin foil and return to the oven for 1 hour
4 onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
After this time, remove the foil and give everything a good stir. Pour in the wine and place the dish over a low heat on the hob. Bring to a simmer, then add half the stock
350ml of dry white wine
175ml of lamb stock
Once bubbling again, cover with foil and return to the oven for another hour. After this time, add the remaining stock and return to the oven (without the lid) for a final 30 minutes – by which time the sauce should have reduced to a syrupy consistency
175ml of lamb stock
Prepare the vegetables while the lamb finishes cooking. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the chopped potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes, or until completely tender when pierced with a knife
750g of potato, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
Meanwhile, start the petit pois by melting the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the baby onions, bacon and leek and sweat down gently for 5 minutes without colouring
50g of unsalted butter, diced
200g of baby onions, peeled but kept whole
4 slices of smoked streaky bacon, or smoked pancetta, cut into thin strips
1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced
Mix in the petit pois, lettuce, sugar and a little seasoning. Cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the mint, wine and stock. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid, turn the heat down very low and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
340g of petit pois
2 little gem lettuces, finely shredded
1/2 tsp caster sugar
freshly ground black pepper
12 mint leaves, finely shredded
100ml of white wine
100ml of vegetable stock
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain thoroughly to remove all water then mash until smooth, passing through a potato ricer to achieve a creamier texture if preferred. Beat in the butter until creamy, then stir through the mint, mustard and a pinch of nutmeg. When evenly combined, check and adjust the seasoning to taste
125g of butter
2 tbsp of mint, finely shredded
1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
ground white pepper
To serve, divide the mash between serving dishes. Remove the butcher's string from the lamb and portion the meat. Serve on top of the mash with the onion sauce and peas spooned over. Alternatively, serve the mash, peas and lamb separately in large bowls in the centre of the table
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