As the autumn months draw in and the leaves begin to fall from the trees, our bodies start craving some hearty and warming dishes.
This week’s recipe is a perfect autumn dish that uses a secondary cut of meat which is not only light on the purse but is also packed full of flavour for the colder months.
Braising the lamb shoulder in this way fills the kitchen with the most tempting aromas and means the meat can be fully prepared in advance.
Braised Lamb Shoulder, Celeriac Purée, Poached Pearl Onions
For the lamb
1.2kg lamb shoulder, kept whole and deboned
2 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways
2 sticks of celery, halved lengthways
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, halved lengthways
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 bottle of your favourite red wine
Preheat the oven to 120C.
In a heavy based pan. Brown the lamb on all sides. Place the lamb in a large roasting tray. Scatter the vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, peppercorns and a generous pinch of salt around the lamb shoulder.
Deglaze the frying pan with the red wine, reduce it by half and pour over lamb. Top up the tray with some water until it comes three quarters of the way up the lamb. Cover the tray in tinfoil and braise in the oven for 3 hours.
After 1 hour remove the vegetables and reserve. After 3 hours remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Whilst still hot remove the lamb from the stock that has been created. Pass the stock through a muslin cloth and reduce it by three quarters. Reserve this liquid as this is the sauce for the finished dish.
Pick the lamb down, getting rid of any gristle, skin or fat. Lay half of the lamb on outstretched clingfilm. Place the vegetables in a line down the middle of the meat with a pinch of salt. Top with the remaining lamb and roll into a ballotine/sausage shape using the clingfilm. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
For the celeriac purée
1 whole celeriac, peeled and diced into even chunks
1 onion, diced
300ml double cream
Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan and add the onion. Sweat the onion for 3-4 minutes. Add the celeriac and continue to sweat down for another 5-6 minutes until softened but with no colour. Add the milk and cream and simmer for 15-18 minutes. Blend in a high speed blender until smooth and glossy. Season to taste with salt. Pass through a fine sieve. Keep warm until needed
For the onions
18 pearl onions, peeled
A generous pinch of salt
1 sprig of rosemary, halved
Mix the salt, butter, rosemary and water in a pan. Add the onions. Simmer everything together until the onions are just cooked as this draws out the bitterness from the onions and imparts the flavour from the rosemary. Remove the onions from the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 185C. Slice lamb into 1 inch thick discs and remove the clingfilm. Place the discs on a baking tray and cover with buttered greaseproof paper. Place in the oven for 12 minutes.
Plate the elements as per the image and drizzle over the reserved sauce.