food with sam man­ner­ing

If you’re host­ing mid-win­ter lunch at yours, try this one-dish de­light which makes a leg of lamb the undis­puted hero.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS - Pho­to­graph & Styling/ Sam Man­ner­ing

Sun­day lunch at this time of the year calls for some­thing a lit­tle more warm­ing than a sim­ple roasted leg. Far from try­ing to replace the ubiq­ui­tous joint, I’ve merely swad­dled it in good things. I’m also fond of dishes that be­gin and end in the same pot.

With lamb, it’s im­por­tant to com­ple­ment rather than drown out the del­i­cate flavour of the meat. Mint sauce is an abom­i­na­tion I will never un­der­stand.

With mut­ton, of course, it makes sense, but with lamb, it com­pletely kills the flavour (I can’t wait for the feed­back to come in on this one).

The pre­served lemon in this recipe, on the other hand, adds a wee kick of flavour but leave it out if it isn’t your thing. Or, if you’re fond of an­chovies use some finely diced in­stead.

You’ll need some­thing that can snugly ac­com­mo­date the lamb. I’d rec­om­mend a big enamel Dutch oven.

You could replace the lamb with a shoul­der of pork or a leg of veal. Be sure to ad­just the cook­ing time ac­cord­ingly. Be pa­tient with a long, slow cook and you will be re­warded for it.

SLOW-COOKED LAMB WITH COUR­GETTES, NEW SPUDS & PRE­SERVED LEMON

Serves 4-6 Cook time: 3½ hours / Prep time: 20 min­utes

1 leg lamb, about 2-2.5kg in weight olive oil 1 lemon sev­eral sprigs rose­mary few bay leaves ½ cup dry white wine salt and pep­per 10 shal­lots, peeled and halved 4 cloves gar­lic, sliced ¼ pre­served lemon, pips re­moved and finely chopped 800g waxy baby pota­toes 400ml veg­etable stock 4 cour­gettes, washed

To the leg of lamb add three or four ta­ble­spoons olive oil, zest and juice from the lemon, rose­mary, bay leaves, white wine and a generous sea­son­ing of salt and pep­per. Rub mix­ture all over and into the meat, then cover and leave to mar­i­nate in the fridge for at least two hours. A day is ideal.

Take mar­i­nated lamb out of the fridge and let it re­turn to room tem­per­a­ture. Pre­heat oven to 170C.

Place 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil into a large lid­ded flame­proof casse­role, Dutch oven or sim­i­lar over a medium heat. Add shal­lots, gar­lic and pre­served lemon and cook gen­tly for sev­eral min­utes un­til soft, fra­grant and translu­cent.

In­crease heat a lit­tle, add lamb and a lit­tle more oil if nec­es­sary, and quickly brown meat on all sides. Take off heat.

Nes­tle leg into the shal­lot mix­ture and add pota­toes, liq­uid and herbs from the mari­nade and stock.

Put lid on and cook for about 2½ hours, un­til the meat is melt­ingly ten­der.

Us­ing a vege peeler, cut cour­gettes into long rib­bons. Add to potato and shal­lot mix­ture around lamb and re­turn to oven for an­other 20 min­utes with­out lid, so that the meat browns a lit­tle on top and the liq­uid re­duces fur­ther.

Re­move from oven and rest meat for a few min­utes be­fore carv­ing and serv­ing.

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