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 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.