Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with chargrilled vegetables and cheesy polenta
- January 2019
- Serves 8
- Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 4½ hours, plus resting
A shoulder of lamb or hogget is a winter treat that’s best cooked long and slow. Paul Merrett’s lamb shoulder recipe is served with polenta and brightly coloured veg, it brings a little Italian colour to a British winter.
- 33.8g (13g saturated)
- 30.5g (7g sugars)
- 2.2kg British higher-welfare bone-in lamb or hoggett shoulder (see know-how and tip)
- 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1½ tsp sea salt flakes
- 1½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 litres lamb stock
- 200ml red wine
For the chargrilled vegetables
- 2 red peppers, roughly chopped
- 2 yellow peppers, roughly chopped
- 2 red onions, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into thick strips
- Olive oil for brushing
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
For the cheesy polenta
- 1.5 litres chicken stock
- 250g quick-cook polenta
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 120g grated sheep’s cheese (manchego, pecorino or berkswell all work well)
- Heat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/gas 6½. Put the lamb in a roomy roasting tin, then make small incisions all over with the tip of a small sharp knife and stuff with the garlic. Grind the fennel seeds in
a pestle and mortar, add the thyme, sea salt and pepper, then mix in the olive oil to make a paste. Rub all over the lamb.
- Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes until the skin is starting to brown, then turn the oven down to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Pour in the stock, then return to the oven for 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes or so, until really tender.
- Transfer the lamb to a board set on top of a lipped baking tray to catch the meat juices and leave to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and polenta. Heat a large cast iron griddle pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Brush the peppers, onions and fennel with a little oil, then griddle separately until tender and charred. Transfer to a bowl, toss with the garlic and chilli, then season to taste.
- To make the polenta, bring the stock to a simmer and slowly sprinkle in the polenta, stirring, to avoid lumps. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes until thickened. Add the olive oil and cheese and stir until melted – the consistency should be similar to wet mashed potato. Season to taste.
- For the gravy, spoon off as much fat from the roasting tin as you can (it should be about 4 tbsp) and discard. Tip the rest of the juices from the tin, as well as the lamb’s resting juices, into a saucepan with the wine. Bring to the boil, then simmer until thickened a little.
- Return the lamb to the tin, tip in the veg and serve with the cheesy polenta and gravy.
Lamb aged 1-2 years is known as hogget. The meat is richly flavoured, having had longer to mature. A good butcher will be able to find it for you. Buy online at heritagemeats.co.uk.
Leftover lamb and veg will keep in separate containers in the fridge for a couple of days. Reheat in a low oven to serve.
Chef and restaurateur Paul Merrett says: “This recipe makes great use of one of my favourite joints – lamb shoulder. The meat is cooked long and slow until it becomes meltingly tender. Cheesy polenta is perfect for mopping up all those tasty cooking juices, while plenty of colourful vegetables make it feel good for you as well as indulgent.”
A ripe red from southern Italy fits the bill – choose a nero d’avola or primitivo.
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