Shoulder is without doubt the best-flavoured of all the lamb joints. Cooked slowly in this way and served at room temperature, there can be few more satisfying pieces of meat. Elwy Valley lamb is a favourite with many restaurateurs, as it continually comes top of comparative tastings. Farmed up to 1,000 feet in the Welsh mountains, in view of the Snowdonia range, the lambs are raised to both animal welfare and environmentally friendly standards.
Preheat the oven to 120°C/gas ½. For this recipe you will need a roasting tray or deep cast-iron pot which has a tight-fitting lid. In it, colour the seasoned lamb shoulder all over in the butter and olive oil. Take out and set aside.
Do not pour away the fat, but add the onions, garlic and herbs, and lightly colour. Pour in the white wine and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and return the lamb to the tray or pot. Season it again with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the preheated oven and slow-bake for about 4–5 hours, basting frequently. The pot must not dry out, so add a splash of water if necessary at any point.
When the lamb is tender, turn the oven setting up to about 180°C/gas 4, lift the cover off and continue to bake for about another 15 minutes, which will crisp up the lamb skin. Remove from the oven.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.