First, and most importantly, I opened a bottle of Fitou red wine to breathe and ate a tomato pie for a late breakfast. As I went along I photographed most of the process in boning and rolling the shoulder of lamb to further document the dish.
So, as you can see, I took out the three bones and some of the excess fat and strung up the joint using a slip knot method. Then, I took five bulbs of garlic, peeled off the papery skins and cut the bulbs into slithers. I used several of the slithers as shown in the next picture and put the rest aside. The fresh rosemary came from the bush in my garden and I trimmed several pieces off and made the stalks into points with my knife (always cut away from yourself), pierced the lamb across the top and inserted the garlic and rosemary. My hands smelt great after doing this!
The oven had already been pre-heated to gas mark four and with a generous covering of olive oil (Filippo Berio) I popped the lamb joint in the oven to slowly cook for three hours. For the first hour I covered the joint in silver foil as a lid, in effect. To celebrate this important stage I had a glass of wine. Salut!
While the lamb was starting to cook for the first hour I prepped up the rest of my dinner for cooking later on. I wanted a hot tomato based sauce for the roast potatoes and so I chopped up a small onion, the rest of the garlic and a hot red pepper (de-seeded). This was for a paste to quickly cook through in the frying pan. The mixture then got a good blunging in the wooden mortar after adding a little olive oil for moisture. I had to do this in two goes as there was a fair amount.
Drawn by the delicious smells, my neighbour Mick came round and I taught him how to do a butcher's knot and we had a few glasses of wine and a chat together. His wife Jo also appeared later on and admired my cooking.
About an hour had gone by so I took the lamb out of the oven, removed the silver foil and gave it a basting with the juices. Once returned to the oven I got on and prepared half a dozen small potatoes for the roasting process further down the line. Meanwhile they sat in a saucepan with salted cold water.
Mick and I retired to the garden and the sunshine and chatted away for some time, with me dashing in and out to check on the cooking and put on some music. The lamb got basted a final time on the second time of being removed from the oven and after basting I spooned a couple of dessert spoon's worth of clear honey over the lamb. You must be hungry now from reading this. I certainly was!
The potatoes got roasted on the top shelf of the oven (now turned up a notch or two to gas mark six) and the lamb was placed at the bottom of the oven so as not to burn. In the last half hour the now beautifully cooked lamb was taken out and put aside to rest whilst I pan fried some courgette slices and did the same (in another frying pan) to the paste in more olive oil. When both were cooked through I drained the oil from both, opened a can of chopped tomatoes and butter beans, and added the tomatoes to the paste and courgettes. On inspection, the roast potatoes were cooked and so I drained those of the oil and put aside for a few seconds. I added in some flakes of chilli for extra heat and cooked through the paste, tomatoes and courgettes for a few minutes. Next I added the potatoes and butter beans and gently stirred the mixture in the frying pan. No more oil was used as the juice from the chopped tomatoes was sufficient. Funnily enough next door's cats didn't hassle me for food as they had already been fed, bless 'em.
|NOT cat food|
I sliced off a generous amount of the cooked and fragrantly steaming lamb and added in my improvised patatas bravas and butter beans, poured another glass of wine and settled down to a well deserved and scrummy late lunch. Although I did share some with Mick, the neighbour, there is plenty left for today's dinner as well. Yummy.