Every summer I spend a few weeks at my sister’s house in Brittany, and I come back every time with a new culinary obsession inspired by countless hours spent around the kitchen with my family cooking, eating, and talking about food. One year my preoccupation was yogurt, another time marinated olives, and this year it is slow-roasted lamb. There simply is no better way to cook – or eat – lamb. It’s completely stress-free and utterly delicious.
This is an approximate recreation of my sister’s succulent lamb shoulder. The gist of the recipe is to rub the lamb with herbs and garlic and let it cook for hours in a very low oven.
The quantities below are for a piece of meat of approximately 6 lbs (3 kg). The seasoning should be adjusted according to size, but the cooking time remains the same.
2 generous sprigs each of sage, rosemary, thyme, summer savory
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsps coarse gray sea salt
6 garlic cloves
1 bone-in lamb shoulder
Finely chop the herbs. In a mortar, coarsely grind the coriander seeds and set aside. Next grind together the salt and garlic cloves. Mix in the herbs, coriander, and a generous amount of black pepper. Finally, drizzle 3-4 tablespoons olive oil to make a coarse paste.
Trim the fat from the lamb and rub with the herb paste on all sides. Place the lamb shoulder in a large cast-iron pot.* Put the lamb in the oven and let roast at a high temperature for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 300°F (150°C), seal the pot with a tight-fitting lid (or with aluminum foil if using a roasting tray), and forget the lamb in the oven for 3 or 4 hours.
The meat will fall off the bone, and it will be even more delicious reheated the next day.
*Another option is to use a roasting pan tightly sealed with aluminum foil, though the result is not quite as satisfying as the meat does not seem to brown in the same way.