Roasting lamb for seven hours takes a lot of commitment. Roasting anything for more than three is a big ask. For me, it's not just the hanging around, fiddling with the meat, but the precious real estate it takes up. I could be baking a cake or biscuits in my oven during that time. Several cakes!
This weekend, with a pretty nasty hangover, I woke up and realised I had to get the lamb in the oven shortly. But before then, I had to make hot cross buns (stay tuned!) and profiteroles. They would take a good couple of hours. Before I knew it, it was 8am, I was out of bed on around 5 hours sleep and baking like a mad woman.
The rewards were great. This is the most succulent roast you'll ever have the pleasure of eating. The meat falls apart but isn't overcooked. This meat is from Spring Creek and the lamb feeds on a pretty delicious diet of saltbush. Not so sure about the flavour of saltbush, but what it does to the lamb is pretty outrageous.
The most important thing here (apart from the fabulous lamb) is the cartouche. It keeps the meat moist while the roasting thing is going on, and when it comes off after five hours, it can brown up a treat.
We enjoy a roast lamb every Easter lunch. Growing up, I never understood the fascination with lamb. It may have been because we had a freezer full of the stuff from Dad's stud farm. We were spoilt rotten with the stuff, but all we ever wanted was chicken. Now, I appreciate what we had and hanker for some still-pink chops off the barbecue most nights. Mum's roasts were exceptional. I don't know how, but each time the meat was caramelised and succulent and the accompanying potatoes were crispy and light. What a woman!
So if you can get past the fact that your oven is being taken over by a giant hunk of meat for seven hours, your first hurdle is over. The real test comes once the aromas start wafting. It's a tough day to get through, but worth the wait.
1 lamb shoulder
6 garlic cloves
rind of 1 lemon
1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped
5 sprigs rosemary
Preheat oven to 150º. Prepare your root vegetables (I had potato, pumpkin, parsnip, fennel and onion. Place the vegetables in the roasting tray with the lamb on top, skin side up.
Cover with a cartouche and foil. Roast for 2 hours, then reduce temperature to 120º for another 5 hours. In the final 2 hours, remove the cartouche from the lamb and continue to roast.
Remove lamb from the oven, cover with foil and rest for half an hour. In the meantime, increase the temperature in the oven for the vegetables to brown.
Serve with your favourite condiments. We loved it with mustard and mint jelly.