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Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Preserved Lemons & Garlic

The easiest dinner party dish for a Saturday night....


80ml Evilo Estate Clare Valley Olive Oil
100ml Verjuice
700ml Chicken Stock (best you can get)
1 Savannah Lamb Shoulder
4 Brown Onions Quartered
6 Bay Leaves (fresh not dried)
7 Cloves Garlic, peeled & crushed
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary (Leaves only) Preheat oven to 180oC
2 Quarters of Patly Hill Preserved Lemons (peel only)
18 Pitted Patly Hill Clare Valley Kalamata Olives for garnish
Freshly cracked black pepper & Murray River Salt flakes

Choose a large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid that fits the shoulders snugly in the pot. It will be a squeeze, so if its too big, you can use a deep roasting pan. (Scanpan have a great one with a lid) Heat the oil in the dish and add the onions, garlic and herbs. Brown the onion mix over high heat for a few minutes stirring constantly. Take out the mix and sit aside leaving as much oil still in the pan. Add some more if you think it needs it.

Brown the lamb in the same dish until golden by turning over and caramelising all sides/edges of the shoulder, and then add the onion mix to the pan, so they surround the shoulder, to seal in the onion aromas. I try to get all the onion underneath the shoulder to infuse the flavour. Add the preserved lemon, verjuice and stock to cover the shoulder and onion mix, and season well with pepper and salt.

Set the oven to cook for approx 4 hours.
Cover your casserole/baking dish tightly with foil or both foil and a lid.
For the first 20 mins, keep the oven at 180, then turn back to 160 for the rest of the cooking process. Be sure to check it each hour and ensure the lid/cover is back on tightly after rolling the lamb around in the mix when you check it. Baste it a few times, and roll the shoulder over with tongs in the juice or use a big spoon to spoon the juice and onion mix around. If the juice is diminishing, the cover isn’t tight enough, so add more stock as required, and recover well again. The lamb is cooked when it falls off the bone. Depending on the size of the joint, it may be 6 hours. Don’t be worried, if its taking longer than you thought. Once falling off the bone, put it on a warm plate and set aside covered with foil to rest for about 45 mins + in a warm place.

Skim the fat off the pan juices and reduce this by a third boiling it hard, until the sauce is reduced and thicker but not gluggy. This takes longer than it seems (20 mins?) and you should keep tasting it every 5 minutes to ensure its not getting too strong in flavour. If you like the flavour, but its not thick enough, you can alter the thickness using a heaped desert spoon of cornflour mixed in a ¼ cup of cold water, taking the juice off the heat, mixing it in, then back on the heat and stir like crazy. It must bubble and boil to cook the flour properly. Alternatively, the juice can be served with the thinner consistency, with a few mint leaves chopped for presentation in a lovely china milk jug. Its a personal thing!

Season to taste and for extra gloss put in a cube of cold butter to make the sauce rich and shiny.
Add the pitted olives and pull apart the meat off the bone making sure the sinews are left with the bones.

*We usually serve this with apple or pear mash and steamed green beans or mash and a side salad. Something to cut through the rich flavours works brilliantly. Crusty bread to wipe the plate clean is always a favourite too!
**If you have any quinces or pickled quinces you can add these into the recipe in the beginning. The quince gives a beautiful flavour and adds some colour also. I also put them in at the end to liven up the palate.
***This is an adaption of Maggie Beer’s Lamb Neck recipe.