I love winter food! And one of my favorite things about it is the idea of slow-roasting a “joint” (albeit usually boneless) of lamb or pork all afternoon. The aroma drives me mad. I mean really, really mad. I can’t resist nipping off little pieces from the edges once it’s been in the oven for a few hours, leaking juice be-damned! There’s still plenty of juice, believe me.
So I made this over the weekend, and wanted to urge you to try it.
Here’s the recipe, same as the one in my In The Kitchen column of last April, a couple weeks before Passover and Easter. But this time I had carrots to use up, so threw those in the roasting pan, too. I didn’t bother to parboil the potatoes. I just thickly sliced them before adding about half way through roasting time. But I could tell they were not going to be done in time, so I put the them on a metal tray in the toaster oven to brown, and that did the trick. (Clearly, I should either add them at the beginning or parboil them to add halfway through.)
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Adapted from several sources
One recipe I consulted, on bonappetit.com, used 4 ounces diced pancetta instead of anchovy, but I switched to anchovy because it’s kosher. And don’t hesitate to vary the other seasonings, according to your family preferences, or to serve couscous or pilaf instead of the potatoes.
I buy the lamb at Whole Foods’ butcher counter, already boned, rolled, and tied, which comes to 4 pounds (they’ll cut smaller if asked).
4 cloves garlic, peeled
6 juniper berries
Leaves from one sprig of rosemary
2 anchovy fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
For the roasting pan:
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
Optional – parboiled potatoes
The night before roasting, whirl the marinade ingredients in a mini processor. Put the tied roast in a large zipper bag, and scrape the marinade over it, massaging it (through the plastic if you like) into the nooks and crannies of the roast. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, about 5 hours before dinner, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the cut up onions in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Put the roast, fatty side up, on top of the onions. Put roast in oven and lower temperature to 250 degrees.
Roast, uncovered, for approximately 4 1/2 hours, covering lightly with foil after 3 hours if it seems like the top is browning too much or juices are evaporating. If, instead, it seems that it’s cooking too slowly, raise the temperature to 275 for the last hour. Baste occasionally.
If desired, add quartered par-boiled potatoes about 3 hours in, so they can finish cooking in the fat and juices from the roast. You could alternatively roast those in a separate dish with some of the fat from the roasting pan.
I didn’t even get out my meat thermometer to check doneness (160 degrees for medium), as the deeply burnished crust and plentiful dark juices told me all I needed to know.