Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder in Thyme, Ginger and Garlic Marinade

I think plain roasted meat is all very well, but at this time of year when memories of overeating rich festive meals are not a totally dim and distant memory, I think it pays to flavour up your meals a touch, and ring the changes. I also know I’m going to have my leftovers for lunch tomorrow, so I want something that is going to taste good in a salad. When I found myself chopping the garlic and thyme, I just wanted another dimension, so I decided to add fresh ginger. Do ginger and thyme get on? They get on like a house on fire!

For the marinade:
Juice of one lemon
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Tsp thyme leaves
Glop of Olive Oil
1 square inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Either, put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smoothish. OR, put all the dry ingredients into a pestle and mortar until you have a sort of paste and then mix in the lemon juice and olive oil.

Preheat the oven, gas 2 or so, and take your lamb shoulder. Stab it several times all over and then pour over your marinade, massaging in all over with your hands. Leave to sit in a non metallic dish for a while. Put the lamb in a large casserole or roasting tin big enough to hold it. If you don’t have a lid that fits, covering completely with foil is ok. Depending on the size of your shoulder, you will want to cook it slowly for between 2 and 4 hours. About halfway through your estimated cooking time, uncover, and baste with the juices and cook for the remainder of the time without a lid. When its cooked, by which I mean by falling off the bone, leave it covered in a warm place for 20 – 30 mins. I’m having mine with quinoa, grilled halloumi and sautéed courgettes, but roasties, broccoli and a gravy made from the juices would be just as perfect. Apologies for the blurry pics, steamy kitchen and camera still not fixed!

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Roast Belly Pork with Easy Spice Rub – Farmer’s Market Wednesday

smoked paprikaIt was pretty hard to feel inspired at the market this morning, simply because it was just pouring down with rain again. So, even though I have a couple of pork meals prepared for this week, I didn’t hang about looking to see what looked great today, or seek inspiration in  the abundance of fresh ingredients.  I just ran over to the first stall that I knew sold good meat and I just bought the first cut my eyes rested upon. Happily, I have the rest of the ingredients in my cupboard, but there isn’t anything that can’t be found in a quick trip to Sainsburys.

I suppose if I were to define this dish as anything I would say, chinesey. However, given the smoked paprika, I can’t say its a particularly authentic recipe. Never mind, it’s really delicious anyway. The thing with belly pork, is that you need to flavour it, probably, and you need to be patient and cook it slowly. This means not falling asleep in front of the telly with your child if you want dinner on the table at a sensible time, unlike me. Slow roasting will bring out the best in this cheap cut of meat – cook it too fast and the fat won’t melt into the flesh sufficiently and you’ll have a tough, very fatty piece of meat. I always buy far more of this cut than I need, as I love it cold too. This recipe is adapted from a recipe book called The Best, to accompany the BBC series of the same name. Serves umm.. 3?

  • 1.5 kilo piece of belly pork, skin scored  by your butcher
  • 3 tsps salt
  • 1.5 tsps smoked paprika
  • 3 tsps chinese 5 spice powder

chinese barbecue ork pre oven

Boil a kettle full of water, and on a rack over a roasting tin, pour it over your pork, concentrating on the skin. Leave to drain off the water for a few minutes while you mix together the rest of the ingredients. If the pork still feels wet when you’ve done this, dry it off with a bit of kitchen towel. Then, rub the spice mix into the pork evenly all over, not forgetting the sides of the joint. Put in the oven at gas 8 and cook for 20 minutes, turn down to gas 2-3 and cook for another 3 hours. If the crackling is not all you hoped for at the end of the cooking time, cover the joint with foil and whack the oven up to gas 7 for 15 minutes and that should help. Remove from the roasting tin, and put the pork somewhere warm to rest . Skim the excess fat from the pan and then add:

  • 20ml soy sauce
  • 15ml rice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp oriental chilli oil
  • coooked chinese barbecue pork

Swish them together along with the juices and put the pork back into the pan with the soy, vinegar and chilli oil and cover. When pork has rested for at least 10 minutes in total, carve into thin slices and serve over rice, pouring the juices over.