My bestest Lamb Recipe ever!

My mate Nynke
My very good friend, Nynke, asked me for this recipe about, ooh, a month and a half ago…sorry Nynke! I’ve been meaning to write about it for years as it is truly deelicious and easy to boot, and I still haven’t managed to do it, sigh. But today is the day! Hopefully Nynke hasn’t given up on me just yet! I have no photos of the lamb, but of the lovely Nynke and her cat!

Nynke's cat
What makes this dish so special is how the meat just falls off the bone in soft deelicious pieces. And the wonderfully intense meaty sauce that comes with it...it’s just to die for darling. BUT you have to pay attention to the following instructions which has as much to do with my dodgy pot as it does with the recipe.

I once told Sal, another friend of mine, to put it into the oven and then go forth and have fun for the next few hours and when she returned it would be perfect. However, upon her return, there was no thick sauce, but just runny liquid. It seems the lid on her pot sealed completely and mine doesn’t. So pay attention at step no.3 please!

This is an incredibly easy and quick recipe – reading the instructions is the longest part of the whole thing!

INGREDIENTS
1 Leg or Shoulder of Lamb or even Mutton, approx. 2-3kg
2 tbsp oil, I use olive oil, but any vegetable oil will do
2 onions, quartered
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1 bottle of red wine
1 lt of beef stock
Salt and pepper
Optional extras for the sauce:
Tomato paste
Paprika
Chilli
Red currant jam
Port wine

METHOD

1. My biggest mission over the years has been finding a pot with a lid big enough for my joint! Heat the oven to 200C. Brown the meat in the oil over a high heat. Brown the onions too and add the carrots.
2. Add the wine and stock to the meat and bring to a boil, then turn it off as it’s now ready to go into the oven. Oh yes, add some salt and pepper too.
AND now, this is where it needs a little explanation.
3. You want the lid of your pot to allow steam to escape, so that the sauce cooks down during the process. If your lid fits too well, then tip it slightly during the cooking process to allow for this. If too much moisture escapes, simply add more liquid in the form of wine, water or stock.
4. Put the meat into the oven and leave it at 200C for 30 minutes then turn it down to 150C for the next 3 ½ - 4 ½ hours, depending on the size of your joint. Mutton will take longer than lamb too.
AND yet another point that needs to be taken into account:
5. I take the pan out of the oven and check the meat every hour and turn it over. This gives you the opportunity to see if it needs more liquid, or if the lid is sealing too well, or just for a general once over.
6. I use a black cast iron pot and find that towards the end of the cooking time, the meat tends to get a bit dark on top. So what I do is I cover the pot with tin foil and put the lid back on again. The black lid bakes down on the meat and the tinfoil reflects it away (or that’s my explanation for it!).
7. The meat is ready when it easily pulls away from the bone. If your sauce is too thin, take the meat out to rest and reduce it on the stove. I find that the sauce has so much flavour as is, but I have also added all the optional extras at various times. We had our own sheep so we ate this a lot!
This dish tastes great warmed up, so if you’re worried about timing, make it earlier and heat it up when the guests arrive. Or what I often do when it’s ready is, cut it up into pieces, put it back in with the sauce, turn the oven down to 50C and leave it for another hour or two so that I don’t have to do anything when the guests are there except serve it!

And that’s it. To think it’s taken me a month and a half – I feel suitably ashamed Nynke! Enjoy and see you soon! Bisous!

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