Lamb Three Ways: Slow Roasted, Spiced Lamb
Meatballs and Racks with Rich Wine Gravy
There are lots of steps to prepare this lamb but it can all be done ahead,
leaving you to simply pop it in the oven 30 minutes before serving.
Slow Roasted Lamb
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 long shallots, sliced lengthways
or 2 medium onions, sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1kg half shoulder of lamb, knuckle end
300ml white wine
300ml lamb stock
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp cold water
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spiced Lamb Meatballs
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 ½ tbsp virgin olive oil
1 medium long shallot, peeled and
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp hot chilli powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp flaked sea salt
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped curly parsley
finely grated zest ¼ small lemon
250g lamb mince
100-150g caul (from your butcher
if you can get it), optional
Herbed Rack of Lamb
2 x French trimmed racks of lamb (each with 6-7 cutlets)
40g fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh curly parsley
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Suckling lamb was popular in medieval Britain
and was bred especially for the Christmas
market. It was first boiled in water, or milk and
water, then spit-roasted whole.
Garlic has been found in ancient Egyptian
tombs, both as a food offering and as part of
the embalming process.
Historical facts provided by Monica Askay,
Cook and Food Historian
① To make the slow roasted lamb, preheat the oven to
180C/fan oven 160C/Gas 4. Put the garlic, shallots or
onions, rosemary and thyme in a medium roasting tin.
Season with a good pinch of salt and plenty of ground
black pepper. Toss together and form into a heap.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place on
top. Roast for 30 minutes until lightly browned then
take the tin out of the oven.
② Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/fan oven 130C/
Gas 2. Pour the wine and water around the lamb,
cover the tin tightly with foil and roast for 3 hours.
Remove the foil and return the lamb to the oven for
a further 30 minutes or until very tender and falling
off the bone. (You should end up with around 450ml
③ While the lamb is cooking, make the meatballs. Put
the cumin seeds in a small non-stick frying pan over a
low heat and cook for 30-60 seconds until they warm
up and begin to release their aroma. Tip into a pestle
④ Return the pan to the heat and add 2 tbsp of the
olive oil, shallots and garlic. Cook over a low heat for
5 minutes, stirring regularly. While the shallots are
cooking, pound the cumin until as fine as possible.
Add the coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon and salt.
Pound into a powder and then tip into the pan with
the shallots. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5
⑤ Add the breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest to the
spiced shallots. Drop the minced lamb on top and mix
with a spoon and then clean hands until well blended.
Form into 12 small balls. Cut the better pieces of the
caul, if using, into small squares and use to wrap each
⑥ Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan
and cook the lamb meatballs for 12-15 minutes until
lightly browned and cooked throughout. Transfer to
a baking tray lined with baking parchment, placing in
rows up one end, and leave to cool.
⑦ To prepare the racks of lamb, score the fat in a crisscross
pattern. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and
brown the meat, fat side down, over a medium heat for
5 minutes. Tip up to brown the bottom of each rack
then turn over and brown briefly on the other side –
the curve of the meat will prevent the undersides truly
browning. Remove from the heat and put on a baking
tray, with the racks facing each other and the bones
crossing at their tips.
⑧ Mix the breadcrumbs with all the herbs and garlic. Stir
in a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground
black pepper. Brush the fat side of the lamb generously
with the mustard and press the breadcrumbs onto it
carefully and firmly. Cover and chill until ready to
⑨ Take the shoulder of lamb out of the oven and put on
a board. Skim off as much visible fat as possible from
the tin. Pour the cooking liquor through a sieve into a
saucepan and add the port and redcurrant jelly. Bring
to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the
liquid is reduced to around 300ml, stirring occasionally.
Mix the cornflour with the water and stir into the lamb
gravy. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring.
⑩ Shred the shoulder meat with two forks and put into
a bowl. Season with salt and plenty of ground black
pepper. Stir 4 tbsp of the port sauce into the lamb
shoulder. Place a 6cm straight sided biscuit cutter on
the same baking tray as the meatballs. Press a sixth
of the chopped lamb into the ring and then lift off.
Repeat to make a further 5 pressed lamb stacks. Cover
the meatballs and lamb stacks with cling film and chill
until ready to cook. Cover the pan with the gravy with
cling film; cool, cover and chill.
45 minutes before serving, take all the lamb out of the
fridge and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/fan oven 180C/Gas 6. Place
the tray with the racks in the oven and cook for 23-25
minutes for pink meat and 30 minutes for medium.
Take the cling film off the meatballs and lamb
stacks. Cover the meatballs loosely with foil. Place in
the oven, on a shelf under the lamb, for the last 10
minutes of cooking time. Take only the racks out of
the oven and leave the meatballs and lamb stacks for a
further 5-10 minutes until piping hot. Warm the lamb
gravy until bubbling.
Cover the lamb racks loosely with foil and leave
to stand for 8-10 minutes. Carve each rack into
individual ribs. Arrange a lamb stack and two
meatballs on six warmed plates (choose nice deep
ones). Spoon over a little of the lamb gravy, so they
look nice and glossy. Place two cutlets on each plate,
perched against the lamb stacks. Serve at once.
(Fondant potatoes and green beans go well.)
Caul is the lacy membrane surrounding an
animal’s intestines. Traditionally, it has been
used to wrap faggots (a traditional dish made
with offcuts of meat and offal) and haslet
(a pork meatloaf).
Redcurrant jelly is a traditional accompaniment
to lamb. Redcurrants are also an ingredient of
summer pudding. They should not be confused
with currants which are actually dried grapes, the
name of which comes from Raisins of Corinth.
Historical facts provided by Monica Askay,
Cook and Food Historian