Valentine Warner's Roast Shoulder of Lamb with Bitter Herbs and Honey
Of course, Roast Lamb, is a traditional Easter lunch. Here is Valentine Warner's take on it. The lamb is marinaded in Mediterranean herbs, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and camomile. After a long slow cook the meat will fall away from the bone.
- 1 x 1.4kg shoulder of lamb (get your butcher to split the protruding forearm)
- 1 proper handful of loose dried camomile (or rip open 4 camomile teabags)
- 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
- 12 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- large-flaked salt and black pepper
- juice of 1 lemon
- about 1 tablespoon good Greek or wild
- flower runny honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 125ml water
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
- Take the shoulder of lamb and, with the tip of a sharp knife, make shallow scores through the outer layer of skin and fat, but not into the meat, cross-hatching the entire surface. Do this on both sides.
- In a bowl, combine your dried camomile with the thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano. Add a heavy grind of black pepper and a good tablespoon of salt. Make sure these are well blended. Take a handful of this mix and press it into the skin of the lamb, massaging it in well on all sides.
- Sprinkle some of the herb mix across the bottom of a heavy lidded casserole. Place the lamb on top, and then squeeze the lemon juice across the top before sprinkling with the remaining herb mix. Trail the honey across the top of the shoulder. Pour over a little olive oil as well, then splash 125ml water into the bottom of the pan. Put the lid on, get it into the preheated oven and cook for 21⁄2 hours.
- Check after 1 hour: the lamb should be taking on a little colour. If the water has dried out, add a dash more, the idea being that the water keeps the lamb moist while cooking, leaving you with a good, dark, syrupy juice.
- The lamb flesh should pull away nicely from the bone.