I’ve got a bit of a slow cooking obsession at the moment and I am not entirely sure what brought it on. Part of me feels it could be to do with the time of year. When it is cold outside there is something special about having a home filled with the aroma of meat gently cooking in the kitchen. I am pretty certain, however, that it is most likely down to the fact that slow cooked meats are just incredible. On top of this, slow cooking a joint of meat is so amazingly easy it makes for stress free cooking with unbeatable end results.
This recipe came about as I was looking for something to cook for friends. Often when cooking for people you end up spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing the food rather than enjoying their company. To avoid this I decided that I would make a slow cooked curry using lamb shanks. Unfortunately when we went shopping there were no shanks in sight; this put me into a quandary. After much deliberation I thought I would try something new and make this using a shoulder of lamb instead; this was a very good decision.
I took my inspiration for this dish from a James Martin recipe that I found on the BBC food website. Obviously instead of the shanks use a shoulder of lamb keeping in mind that it will have to fit into your largest pot. Other than that I pretty much followed the recipe above apart from using about twice as much stock. This was because I wanted the meat to fall off the bone and be served in the thick reduced sauce; rather than for the sauce to coat the meat. I probably used at least twice as many spices as well; no reason for this other than my need to make things as flavoursome as possible.
As I mentioned I cooked this for a meal for friends and so I got it started about 4 hours before they were due to arrive. This meant that all I had to do was cook some rice and chop some coriander once the curry was ready. I also decided to chop some almonds to sprinkle over the top; unfortunately these did not look that great in the pictures. The difference in texture was a nice touch however. The curry was really beautiful with a deep rich sauce that was aromatic with the right amount of heat. The meat was incredibly tender and just melted in the mouth which is what slow cooking is all about. The five of us wolfed down the whole lot without hesitation which is exactly what you want when hosting a meal.
If you are looking for something different on a Sunday to a traditional roast then I would highly recommend this recipe. James Martin is one of my absolute favourite chefs and his recipes are always really clear and easy to follow no matter how complex the dish. It is not often that I follow a recipe – I tend to read three or four and take the parts I like – but sometimes it is worth it as they give you inspiration to try new things and techniques. Using the shoulder for this was a new technique for me and one that I absolutely do again, it was really easy and tasted great. Do it.