We all love a good Sunday roast, and for many it is a must have meal every week. But in this warm weather, and the urge to make the most of outdoors, those roast potatoes can sit kind of heavy on the old stomach. Sunday lunch is not difficult to prepare but it is fairly time consuming, can be a lot of hard work, and is an absolute bugger for dirty dishes. So, if you are the one usually responsible for cooking the weekly family feast, give yourself a break and make our easy summer Sunday lunch. If you aren't the one doing the cooking, then have a heart and pass this recipe on.
We have chosen boneless shoulder of Scotch lamb for our cut of the week this week and it is ideal for this meal that provides a lighter alternative to Sunday lunch. Or dinner, depending on where you come from or what time you eat it.
Shoulder of lamb is definitely a cut for those of us who like a bit of fat on our meat; especially when it comes to lamb. If you prefer a leaner cut, then we would probably suggest that you go for lamb leg instead. Lamb is the most affable meat around. Not only has it managed to steadfastly reject the concept of industrial farming, but it is pretty hard to get wrong; particularly shoulder. Although we give precise detail for cooking shoulder of lamb on our product page, we must admit to shoving this one in the oven and letting it do its thing. Lamb shoulder has so much fat and soft tender meat that it really is hard to overcook.
Instead of roasties, we chose to cook new potatoes. Not only are they lighter, but good floury potatoes are not easy to find at this time of year. Straight from cropping they still have that wet starchy quality that leads to gluey mash and soggy chips. A generous knob of butter and a handful of chopped fresh mint is all they need.We have some lovely Ayrshire potatoes in stock over at our shop in Prestwick; if you would like to order some on line then please do give us a nudge and we will see what we can do.
Next to that, a mound of deeply green cabbage cooked however you like it; add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and you have a side dish that not only cuts straight through all that fat but, with the mint on the potatoes, also means there is no need for mint sauce. A thin gravy made from the vegetable water and roasting juices, thickened with (and we make no apologies for this) 1 tsp Bisto gravy browning, ties the dish together. Roast meat without gravy just does not happen on our watch. Please use the old fashioned powder stuff not the new fangled granules. If it was good enough for your grandma...
This is how good food should be. Simple, fresh, ingredients cooked well and served with love.
Here's how to do it.
1kg boneless Scotch shoulder of lamb roasting joint (link leads to our online butcher shop)
800g new potatoes, larger are better, halved
1 head green cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
flaked sea salt
1 tsp Bisto gravy powder mixed with a tbsp water
1. Pre heat the oven to 220C/450F/Gas 7
2. Season the lamb with good quality flaked sea salt. We recommend Maldon salt.
3. Put the lamb on a roasting tray and cook at this temperature for about 20 minutes.
4. Turn the oven down to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and give the meat another 40 minutes or so.
5. Check that lamb is not pink by sticking a skewer into the centre and watching the juices that run out; they should not have any trace of blood. Turn the oven off and leave the lamb to sit until you are ready. Within reason of course; it will sit there happily half cooking/half resting for about an hour.
6. Cook the potatoes in well salted boiling water for about 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain, return to the pan, and add the butter with the mint. Cover.
7. Meanwhile cook the cabbage; this goes into cold salted water, comes to the boil and then cooks for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how you like it. We like our greens quite well cooked even though this is apparently a matter for the vegetable police.
8. Drain the cooked cabbage, reserving the water, and put back in the pan. Add the balsamic and cover.
9. Pour the meat juices, scraping the gubbins off the tray for maximum flavour, into a saucepan, add some of the vegetable water so that you have about half a pint of liquid. Whisk in the bisto paste and set over a low heat. Bring to boil, whisking all the while. It should only thicken a tiny bit; enough to make it slightly viscous and lightly cling to the food on the plate.
10. Carve the lamb any way you find easiest, there is no need to stand on ceremony and the meat is so soft you could cut it with the side of your hand. The standing in the hot oven seems to result in something softer than simply roasted lamb, yet not so far gone that it is shreddable.
11. Shake the potato pan to rough them up a bit, and serve meat, greens and tatties together with a swathe of thin gravy. A little sprinkle of chopped raw red onion goes very nicely with the richness of the meat.
Share your thoughts on Sunday lunch with us. We are really nosey and would love to know if you manage to do a roast each week or what your favourite roast is. Perhaps you wouldn't dream of doing a roast without roasties?