A different kind of Sunday Roast

The events in Paris (and Lebanon, and Syria, and Japan, etc.) this weekend have been a sad reminder of just how fragile life is. Quoting Maya Angelou who said “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”, I would like to think that one of the ways I say “I love you” to my family and my friends is by sharing a meal with them. My eldest (who is not terribly interested in food unless it involves chocolate) told me at lunch today that he felt very lucky to have such nice meals at home. I guess that was his way of telling me “I love you, too”.

Today’s lunch was about as close as a “proper Irish carvery lunch” as I get. I can think of many things I prefer to eat rather than spuds, Yorkshire pudding or gravy, but since I had bought a lamb shoulder at the butcher’s and didn’t want to chop it up for stewing, I made a kind of roast. And roast lamb is pretty Irish.

What you need:

1 semi-deboned lamb shoulder (about 1kg)

2 preserved lemons

3 onions

3 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon fennel seeds (or cumin)

salt, pepper

olive oil


What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (I used upper-lower, rather than fan).
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a cast-iron pot.
  • Slice the preserved lemons thinly and line the bottom of the pot.
  • Slice the garlic and spread on top of the lemon.
  • Slice the onions and fry until soft in a frying pan. Spread on top of the garlic and lemon.
  • Score the meat and rub salt all over. Seize in the frying pan with a little olive oil (about 2 minutes each side).
  • Mix the honey, fennel seeds and ground pepper and rub into the meat
  • Place the meat in the cast-iron pot.
  • Add a glass of water.
  • Cover and put in the oven for 3 hours. (You can take the lid off for the last hour if you want it a little caramelized on top.)

The meat will be tender, juicy, and just fall off the bone. 

I served my roast with couscous wheat and a hummus starter with carrot and cucumber sticks. And brownies for dessert. Because Mat loves chocolate. And I love Mat.

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