Have I ever talked about Jamie Oliver's slow-roasted lamb shoulder here before? It would surprise me if I haven't because I talk about it a lot in real life, and have cooked it about a thousand times. I'm reminded of it now because yesterday we spent the day with my in-laws to celebrate Greek Easter, which usually involves lamb of some kind, often a whole one on a spit. And a couple of Greek Easters past, when the whole family has been at our place, I've rolled out my Jamie Oliver special (naturally to standing ovations and heartfelt cheering from the crowd.)
It's the perfect easy meal for a large group (or small) and once it's in the oven, you can head out for a few hours and forget about it, as we did a couple of weeks ago when some lovely people were due for lunch. Just make sure the oven's working properly so that you don't come home 20 minutes before the guests arrive to discover the lamb still raw, as I did one Easter.
Here's how easy it is: All you need is a lamb shoulder, or three. I find one feeds about four people. Jamie's recipe says to use a 2kg shoulder, but I've yet to find a butcher here who doesn't smirk at that request - they're usually a little over a kilo. They must breed their lambs large in the UK. I like to leave the shank on, but it's up to you. You also need a big bunch or rosemary and a head of garlic, broken into cloves but unpeeled.
Whack the oven up to its highest setting. Slash the skin of the lamb, and massage in some olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay half the garlic and half the rosemary in a baking dish and put the lamb on top. Put the rest of the garlic and rosemary on top of the lamb, then cover the whole thing with foil so it's sealed tightly. Put it into the hot, hot oven, then turn the temperature right down. Jamie says 170 Celsius. I often do it even lower. And leave it for four hours.
See? Easy. When it's ready it will be falling off the bone and you can pull the meat apart with a pair of tongs. No knives necessary. Serve it with whatever takes your fancy - I like roasted veg and some nice green beans. You can make a gravy with all that garlicky goodness left in the pan, but it hardly needs it. Put everything on a big serving platter, dump it in the middle of the table, let everyone serve themselves...and stand back awaiting the applause.
I've always said Jamie's one of the good guys. This recipe is proof.
Now, don't get me started on his fish pie. Oh, Jamie...
(The recipe is in this book.)