Damn that lamb!

22 Sep

Here is last weekends roast dinner. A shoulder of lamb. I love lamb, it’s certainly my favourite roast, but only when other people make it for me.

This isn’t burnt so much as shrunken and shrivelled. Those who enjoy a rarer portion of meat would shy away from this. I tried to keep it moist and tender by slow cooking for about four hours in vegetable stock while the family and I attended a local dog show.

On returning home the house was filled with beautiful lamby smells, the dog expectantly took up residence in the kitchen, and I was thrilled. After sprinkling the juicy joint with salt, pepper and dried mint (for a crispy skin) I immediately put it into a hot oven and prepared the veg. I kept the slow cooker stock for gravy – see I do think ahead sometimes!

After about 40mins cooking (to allow the spuds and parsnips to roast) the lamb came out completely dry. And half the size! If you look carefully you can see the bone has appeared as the meat has shrunk around it.  Also my parsnips had burnt to inedible crisps, honestly the oven wasn’t too hot – I think I just didn’t take them out early enough! (but the gravy was nice).

Sadly the lamb didn’t really taste of much, there was a lot of crispy skin to chew on but very little in the way of succulent meat. AND having bought a big enough joint for five people there ended up being just about enough for my husband and I.

So – should I be using foil to wrap it up and protect it? Or poured oil over the joint before putting in the oven? It looked moist enough on its own?

If I shouldn’t put it in the slow cooker first then how do you get this tender slow-cooked-lamb that everyone is talking about?

The dog had the bone, he enjoyed it whatever…


8 Responses to “Damn that lamb!”

  1. Jenny Eatwell 22/09/2011 at 10:25 am #

    Oh BLESS! I feel for you – to be looking forward to a lovely lamb joint, only to be dashed at the last minute.

    You were doing so well, too. Right up until the 40 minutes in a hot oven. Truly, a slow cooked joint of lamb would only need 10-15 minutes to crisp up the fat layer. No silver foil required, or the fat won’t crisp.

    Your parsnips were probably too small to be needing so long cooking, as well. Definitely give them just 30 minutes in future.

    45 minutes is how long I give my roast potatoes, but then I like them to be quite well coloured and crispy.

    The answer, with the roat vegetables, is to look at them after 30 minutes is done. You can always remove those that are done and keep them warm under the grill. 🙂

  2. Alice Cant Cook 23/09/2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Ah, so I can still slow cook but just don’t roast so much after?
    I thought after hours slow cooking it would be so juicy, a more dried up bit of lamb you have never seen 😦
    And it honestly almost halved in size!

    I’ve always put my parsnips in as long as the potatoes – but because my grill is in my oven I have no where to keep them warm… some foil might be in order?
    I also boil my parsnips for a bit before putting into hot oil so they aren’t too woody.
    Maybe I do too much to them?

    Sad because a roast dinner is my absolute favourite meal of the week!
    Thanks again for your help x

  3. Jenny Eatwell 24/09/2011 at 11:38 am #

    Yes, by all means slow cook. If you’re not keen on the fat layer, then don’t bother roasting and just serve it straight from the slow cooker, minus it’s fat. However, if you’re like me and like a bit of toasty tasty fat on your meat, then a short blast in a hot oven is enough. I’m not surprised it dried out and shrunk, after 45 minutes. *chuckle*

    Ah, then as you’ve nowhere to keep them warm, try putting the parsnips in 15 minutes after the potatoes go in. That should do it!

    Par-boiling is good, before roasting. Helps to get a lovely crispy outside and a soft inside, but be careful you don’t over do it. Just 3-5 minutes for spuds and 2-3 minutes for parsnips, is fine.

    I know, I love roast dinners too! A roast parsnip is a thing of beauty, so far as I am concerned. lol

  4. Poppy.. 03/10/2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Alice I make slow cooked lamb alot and I promise YOU can do it.

    I use the shoulder too and slow cook it for at least 5 hours at approx 200 electric fan oven
    preheated then once meat is in 150 for the remaining time. You will get a crisp top which is
    delicious and then melting meat beneath as you shred it.

    Follow the ‘incrediable smashed lamb’ Jamie Oliver recipe to the letter. It is the best and most
    reliable recipe.

    Try again and let me know..

    • Alice Cant Cook 04/10/2011 at 9:54 am #

      Oooh thank you Poppy!
      I’ll have a look at that Oliver recipe.

      Five hours? Blimey. I heard someone on Twitter recently talking about pulled pork and how they had it in for 24hours!!!!

      Yes I do prefer the shoulder to the leg, have you tried a neck or belly?

    • Jenny Eatwell 04/10/2011 at 10:16 am #

      Poppy – just to clarify, and to help Alice, I presume you mean that you start the lamb at 200 deg for a half an hour or so, then reduce the temperature to 150 deg for the remaining four and a half hours? Because 5 hours at 200 deg might very well render you a lamb-flavoured biscuit, it seems to me! 🙂

  5. Poppy.. 05/10/2011 at 11:51 am #

    Alice and Jenny,

    Ha ! Yes too vague. Oven preheated to 200 then once lamb is in then reduce immediately to 150 and leave in for remaining time.

    • Alice Cant Cook 06/10/2011 at 8:20 am #

      Ah, you two. Love you and my lamby conversation.

      Ok so either a heat blast in the oven followed by gentler roasting. Or a long slow cook followed by an oven crisp up.
      Will try out both.

      Down with lamb biscuits! xx

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