Slow Cooked Rosemary-Garlic Shoulder of Lamb alongside Ratatouille topped with soft Goat Cheese
The theme of this week's dish is France, using very few basic flavours, blended into a complex result based on an easy way of preparing them. I wanted to use my slow cooker again and I haven't made a lamb shoulder yet. Procuring the lamb was no problem because of the large number of ethnic groups that will not eat pork and prefer lamb living in my town. The biggest challenge for this dish is, that it takes time, which on one hand will allow you to plan ahead and make little fuzz, but also requires you to be fairly structured in your timing and work. The Ratatouille is indeed inspired by the Pixar movie in case your first thought was of a cute little furry chef :)
You will end up with tender, moist and succulent meat, with a rich sauce, wonderfully soft vegetables in an intense Ratatouille, that tells stories of a summer day in the Provence.
4 to 4.5 pounds / 2 kg Shoulder of lamb with the bone intact but the leg removed.
Rosemary – several fresh sprigs
3-5 large cloves Garlic (peeled & halved)
1 Tbs extra native Olive oil
1 large onion peeled and quartered
3-4 large Carrots
250 ml / 1 cup Beef or Vegetable stock
250 ml / 1 cup red wine (for example a Pinot Noir)
Cornflour – 2 tablespoonsRatatouille
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 -3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato pieces and juice (You can also peel 4 tomatoes, remove seeds and chop them finely, keeping the juice) But at this time of year, canned ones are the best way to get ripe tomatoes)
2 Tbs extra native olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 small zucchini
2 red bell peppers
1 longish red bell pepper
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme, remove the leaves on two and keep them separate
Goat cream cheese to decorate.
Salt and pepper
Pinch of SaffronMise en PlaceShoulder of Lamb
Trim the meat, remove excess fat from the outer skin. Wash and dry off.
Peel and cut the garlic, wash the rosemary and dry it carefully, keep the sprigs intact but cut them into pieces about 3 cm / 1 1/2 inch long. Cut pockets into the meat and stuff them with slices of garlic, season with salt and pepper.
Clean and roughly cut the vegetables. Heat the stock and wine. Turn on the slow cooker (High), and heat the liquid.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan to medium heat, add the lamb and brown well on all sides. then insert the twigs of rosemary into the pockets as well. Brown the veggies in the oil, then add them into the liquid in the slow cooker.Set the slow cooker to "low".
Place the lamb on top of the vegetables and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.Preparation
Make sure that you start on the vegetables about 1.5 hours before the meat is done.Ratatouille
Pre-heat the oven to 220 C / 420 F.
Clean the vegetables, cut of the ends of the eggplant, the zucchini and peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the onions. Cut the peppers in half, remove seeds and pith, roast them cut-side down on an oiled baking tray until the skin has blistered (about 20 minutes) , then remove and leave to cool, turning the oven down to 120 C / 245 F. Simply put the peppers into a freezer bag, close it and wait for few minutes. you can then just move the peppers around and the skin will come right off. Rinse the peppers and set them aside after you have cut them into small squares.
Heat one Tbs of olive oil in a frying pan to low heat, add the onions, let them cook for about 8 minutes on low heat, do not brown them. They will slowly caramelize and become sweet and tender. Add the garlic after about 4 minutes.
In the meantime, use a mandoline or an adjustable-blade slicer to cut the eggplant, the zucchini and the longish red pepper into thin slices.
Then after 8 minutes, add the tomatoes, the sprigs of thyme and let it simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Now add the roasted pepper along with the saffron. Season with salt and pepper. Let is simmer for a short while. Remove the sprigs of thyme and cover the bottom of a baking dish with the sauce. Now layer the vegetables from the outer edge towards the inside, making sure to slightly overlap the slices. Now add the remaining leaves of thyme to 1-2 Tbs of olive oil, and drizzle it over the vegetables. Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil. and put it in the oven for about 40-50 minutes until a knife slides easily into the veggies while making sure they are only soft and not mushy. Keep warm.Lamb
Remove the meat from the slow cooker carefully, set it aside covered to let it rest, you can put into the still warm oven, make it remains covered and the temperature is just high enough to keep the meat warm. . Pour the liquids from the slow cooker into a pot through a strainer, then use a potato masher to press out all the good taste into the liquid. Now you should remove the excess fat from the liquids, I use a gravy separator for that. Once you have done that, heat the liquid to a simmer and let it reduce by about 2/3, then season to taste with salt and pepper.Add a few small pieces of ice cold butter and 1 to 2 tablespoons of corn starch dissolved in cold water to thicken it to your liking. Keep warm.
Now that the meat has rested, cut it into cuts to your liking, it is very moist and tender and can be easily eaten with a fork as it will fall right off the bone. Arrange on a plate with some gravy. Now you can make the ratatouille even more delectable by adding a few teaspoons of goat cream cheese on top of the veggies.Drizzle lightly with a bit more extra native olive oil.
Serve with a strong red wine, like the Pinot Noir used for the lamb. This wine is known for being earthy supple and silky. It has a gorgeous dried cherry aromas and goes well with both dishes. Bon Appétit
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