or, The Pre-Shepherds Pie
…because this is another set of meals that starts with a cheap cut of meat, too big for two, and ends up with a couple of different spinoff meals made from the leftovers.
The first meal is a meltingly soft roast lamb, where beneath a thin layer of crackling, the meat falls into tender shreds at the touch of a fork. It’s cooked low and slow with some aromatics and liquid, but still retains the characteristic sweet flavour of lamb, and this method makes lashings of savoury dark gravy to eat it with.
In terms of my low ceilings (lack of time, money and expertise) this is an easy meal, made with one of the cheapest cuts of lamb – but it does take a long time in the oven, although only about 10-20 mins actual preparation time. Lamb seems to have increased in price by more than beef, pork and chicken over the last year or so, and so we don’t buy it often, but when we do it’s normally half a shoulder (blade side rather than shank side, for easier carving) or a whole shoulder which would feed about 8 people as a Sunday roast. The nicest lamb I’ve found is at the local butcher in Penrith, Lake District, but back in Islington this is the kind of occasional purchase I would rather make from the fancy butcher, where it is £13.98/kg for a free range grass fed lamb (about half this price at the supermarket). For no particularly rational reason, if I’m going to be partaking of the bone marrow as a cook’s treat (and there is a lovely nugget of it in this cut), I’d rather buy from the butcher. But the supermarket lamb also works brilliantly here – I’ve made it with frozen lamb from Lidl and the results have still been delicious. This week we cooked a whole shoulder which made:
- this meal for two
- a shepherds’ pie for a family of 6 (but one is a newborn who did not eat) where I’m told that two of the children had thirds
- a moussaka for two.