The Perfect Sunday Roast – a guest post by John Moola

There’s something special about a good old fashioned roast on a Sunday, and for me my favourite cut is a shoulder of lamb. This has been a staple in my life for god knows how long either from the oven or the BBQ, I LOVE THIS CUT. The way the meat falls off the shoulder and the rich flavours that tingle in my mouth. I have been known to eat an entire shoulder myself in one 4 hour sitting, much to the amazement of my friends whom I cooked for!  It’s also the first dish I believe I cooked for my wife, no wonder she’s still married to me!

Two key points to remember and to ensure a deeper full-on flavour;

1)        Marinate the meat at least a day before you roast it. You can, at a push leave it for a minimum of 6 hours, I do about 24-36 hours.

2)        This cut of meat MUST be slow roasted… you can never rush a shoulder… never.

Moo’s favourite and perfect Sunday Roast – Harissa marinated Shoulder of Lamb with smoked paprika roast potatoes and cous cous

Harissa marinade (Courtesy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall….. with a little twist)

This is a slightly milder version of what I normally make, but it’s still quite fiery and has a mean kick, so reduce the chilli content to suit your taste buds. I add some ‘woody’ flavours to this in the form of Rosemary and thyme to add another dimension. We love this and have often eaten straight from the pan with a spoon or some bread. We have given our chilli loving friend’s jars of this for presents and they adore it (naturally in small doses) I find that the marinade if perfect for BBQ meats and veg – the heat of the chillies does wear off on a BBQ, but not by much!

INGREDIENTS
300 g plum or very ripe tomatoes

100 g hot chillies, such as Scotch bonnets – I always use the deepest red scotch bonnets and add the following also:

50 g each dried red chillies, dried Kashmiri & Naga chillies

6 fresh red birds-eye chillies – chopped.

1 tsp each of caraway seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, salt

1 tsp of dried rosemary, thyme & mint

6 fat garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

150 g shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

50-75 ml olive or hempseed oil

Good dash of Tommy K, Worcester sauce, tomato puree and light soy sauce

Juice and zest of one lemon

METHOD:
Put the dried chillies (if using) into a bowl of hot boiling water and let seep for about 20mins. Once done, remove from water, discard stalks and finely chop.

Drop the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds then scoop them out. Peel off the skins.

Remove the stalks and calyxes from the scotch bonnet & any other fresh chilli you are using. The seeds and membranes inside the chilli contain most of the heat: you can choose to leave all the seeds in or, for a less intense paste, halve the chillies and cut at least some of the seeds out. To be honest, if you use Scotch bonnets, the paste will be pretty fiery whatever you do! Chop the chillies roughly.

Put the caraway, cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan and toast for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan to make sure they don’t burn.

Light fry the shallots in a little olive oil, do not let them brown too much.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until well blended.

Tip into a saucepan and heat until boiling then simmer for about 10-15 minutes until reduced and starting to thicken.

Leave to cool and ready to use or for storage – pack into warm, sterilised jars, leaving a 1cm gap at the top. Pour oil over the paste to completely cover it. Seal the jars. Store in the fridge and use within 4 months. If you want to extend the shelf life of the paste, pack in small, sealable containers and freeze. Once opened, keep in the fridge, making sure the paste in the jar is completely covered by a layer of oil.

Marinating the Shoulder of Lamb:
Using a 1.25-1.5kg Shoulder of lamb – leave on the bone.

Make a number of incisions in the shoulder of lamb – I tend to make a number of small deep incisions and then push the marinade into those slits. Cover both sides of the meat in the marinade (use as much or as little as you wish), place in a large flat tray/dish, cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for about 24 hours. The longer you leave the meat to marinate the better, the flavour is amazing. 6 hours minimum is also OK.

INGREDIENTS:
3 small red or white onions, quartered

2-4 tomatoes, quartered

6 fat juicy garlic cloves – leave skin on

Sprig or 2 of rosemary

Lug of olive oil

½ cup of boiling water.

METHOD:
When you’re ready to roast, whack the oven on full blast.

Remove the shoulder of lamb from fridge and bring to room temp.

In a large roasting tin, scatter the quartered onions, garlic, rosemary oil and water and rest the shoulder of lamb on them (the onions and tomatoes make a great rack and add flavour for the gravy). The water helps it become a ‘shallow bath’ and allows the moisture to remain within the meat without drying it out too much).

Scrape any remaining marinade from your bowl and tip onto the lamb. Tightly cover with tin foil and place in the oven. Turn the oven down immediately to gas mark 3 (170c / 325f) and cook for about 4 hours. It’s done when you can pull the meat apart easily with 2 forks.

Check halfway thru the cooking to baste the shoulder and re-cover with the tin foil – do this quickly.

When the meat is done, remove from the tray, place on a board and cover with the tin foil. Leave to rest for about 20 mins.

For the Gravy:

Take the roasted vegetables out of the pan and place onto a dish, put the dish in the warm oven.

Scoop off any excess fat from the roasting tin (there will be some as the shoulder of is quite fatty).

Deglaze the roasting tin with some red wine or whatever you normally use (stock, flour etc). Reduce to the consistency you prefer. Once this is done, strain the gravy and serve.

Paprika roast potatoes.. easy peesy..
INGREDIENTS:

Potatoes! to be honest use as many as you want, we can NEVER have enough. I find King Edwards work best for this, but you can use normal white potatoes (if you’re using a small amount then cut down by half on the other ingredients).

Good knob or two of butter

Good lug of Olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons each mustard powder and garlic powder.

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.

METHOD:
Peel and cut your potatoes into good chunks (ideally 3 triangular sized per potato as so they roast evenly) or a size best suits you. Par-boil in a good size saucepan for about 10mins.

Drain the water from the pan, place the lid back onto the pot so the potatoes keep steaming for about 10mins.

Add the butter, olive oil and the rest of ingredients put the lid back on and give the pot a darn good shake – this will coat all the ingredients onto the potatoes and also fluff them up nicely.

Tip into a hot roasting tray and stick in the oven for between 30-40 mins with the roast shoulder of lamb, give the potatoes a good a shake about half way through.

Once the meat and tatties are done, serve with couscous.

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