Was that it? Is summer over already? The weather certainly thinks so, and I am already digging out comforting recipes for autumn which is my absolute favourite time of year.
Summer produce benefits from getting the ingredients from field to plate as quickly as possible and from as little interference as possible . Autumn is a time for simmering, for blending more robust flavours together. If summer is basil and parsley, autumn is bay and rosemary. If summer is crunch, autumn is slurp. The recipes I want for autumn are ones that refuse to be rushed, that don’t need absolute precision weighing or cooking and that can happily blip away on or in the stove until I am ready for it.
With that in mind, there aren't many meals that make me happier than a super slow roast joint of autumn Welsh lamb which has a more intense flavour than spring lamb and revels in heavy spicing and gentle cooking. A large pile of onions braised in the juices underneath serves instead of gravy, making this a versatile recipe for an alternative Sunday roast. Please feel free to go out for a long walk once it is safely in the oven .
What I serve this with depends on who I am feeding and what the weather is doing outside. Sometimes I might make some flatbreads, houmous and a couscous salad spiced with harissa. For a casual lunch I often simply serve soft bread rolls and coleslaw. If it is serving as Sunday lunch on a cold, wet day then creamy root vegetable mash or crispy roasted potatoes and veg might be what is needed.
Pulled lamb (serves 6 -8)
- Lamb shoulder - about 1.3kg
- Onions - 4 medium
- Cumin seeds -2 tablesepoons
- Coriander seeds -1 tablespoon
- Chilli flakes - 1 tablespoon (more or less, to taste)
- Olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- Sea salt - level teaspoon
- Rosemary - chopped - tablespoon
- Garlic - 3 fat cloves
- Tomato puree - tablespoon
- Pre-heat the oven to 120°C
- Slice the onions and pile into a heavy casserole dish
- Pound the garlic with the sea salt, add the spices and rosemary and olive oil and combine
- Pour in the wine and some water (there should be a good inch of liquid under the onions)
- Cover the casserole with a layer of foil, then the casserole lid (or 2 layers of foil)
- Place the dish into the oven and leave for at least 4 hours
- Remove from the oven and give a little bit of the lamb a pinch - the meat should be very, very tender and almost disintegrate underneath your fingers.
- Return to the oven, uncovered for half an hour to colour the lamb
- Remove the lamb to rest underneath some foil, covered with a tea towel
- The oniony, spicy mix in the bottom of the pan can be reduced on the hob to taste
- To 'carve', take 2 forks and shred the meat by inserting them into the joint an pulling them apart.