Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Nigel Slater's Slow Cooked Lamb (Shetland Produce)

At the start of Autumn I bought a local lamb for the winter freezer. (Cost £30). With the unpredictable weather we can get in the winter cutting off our lifeline service to the mainland it's always a good plan to stock up a deep freeze. There have been times I've been to the local shop and there's been nothing but a pig's trotter for sale in the meat section (this really did happen!). The lamb came delivered in a black bin bag, with each cut individually wrapped in labelled freezer bags. Some of the cuts are like nothing you'd get in a supermarket, as you can see! Then, a few weeks later, I was gifted another lamb by a neighbour as a thank you for a gift I'd given his family. My freezer is full of lamb (and trout and blackberries, you'll have noticed if you read my blog regularly!).  We usually prefer to cook the larger cuts of lamb in the slow cooker with Moroccan style seasonings, but I fancied a change. Something baked in the oven. Something in a 'meat & tatties' homely sort of way. I found this recipe by Nigel Slater for a slow cooked leg of lamb with a herb rub which looked absolutely scrummy and of course, I had to adapt it slightly to use the ingredients I had on hand, namely local produce.

J.K. Mainlands Local Potatoes are the best potatoes I have ever, ever eaten. They make the most wonderful mash. I can never leave Shetland because I would miss them so much! I also had to add some Shetland Seaweed sprinkle to Slater's delicious mash recipe (only to improve it, of course, and because Bod Ayre seaweed sprinkle goes into nearly everything I make these days!).

Orkney smoked garlic is out of this world with flavour too. It could be because the only other options are the tiny supermarket garlic or the hideously out of date dried up garlic at the village shop (am I the only one who buys garlic?!) but I think that the Orkney smoked garlic has a marvellous depth of flavour. The cloves are big, fat and juicy too and they make a wicked aioli.

A further adaptation to Slater's recipe was that I thickened the gravy with some cornflour dissolved in water and I left the foil off the lamb for the final 15 minutes of cooking. Without browning the lamb looked a little bit like that poor sheep I'd found, long deceased, in a peat bog up the hill (poor thing!). Slater's lamb recipe required browning to look palatable.

All in all this slightly adapted Nigel Slater recipe is a splendid method to cook a lamb roast. The resulting dish is moist and tender, full of flavour (that's because it's Shetland lamb!) and falls off the bone. The mash was a perfect accompaniment (although by the end you could notice that there was an awful lot of butter in it - you could easily reduce the butter content by 1/3, at least). Still, in the middle of winter when you're wanting a comforting meat & potatoes sort of meal, this is it!

print recipe

Slow Cooked Shetland Lamb
A delicious, fall-off-the-bone, flavoursome lamb recipe using local produce
  • large cut of Shetland lamb
  • 1 bulb Orkney smoked garlic
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 sprigs, fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 1 kg J.K. Mainlands selected local Shetland potatoes
  • 100 grams butter
  • 25 grams parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Shetland Seaweed Sprinkle
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 160 C2. Separate and peel the cloves of garlic. 3. Combine garlic, sea salt flakes, rosemary and thyme in a mortar and pestle. Grind until it forms a paste.4. Drizzle with enough olive oil to form a thick paste.5. Rub the garlic herb paste all over the outside of the lamb and place lamb in a roasting tin.6. Add 250ml water and cover the lamb tightly with foil.7. Roast for 3 - 3 1/2 hours, until tender.8. Remove foil and transfer the lamb to another oven-proof dish. Return to the oven, without foil, for 10-15 minutes, or until the lamb browns nicely.9. Remove lamb from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.10. Skim as much fat as you can off the top of the remaining liquid. Pour into a small saucepan.11. Bring the liquid to the boil. Stir in the cornflour which has been dissolved in cold water. Season to taste. Keep warm.12. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender.13. Mash with the butter and the seaweed. Season to taste.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: serves 3-4

I am entering this recipe into Farmersgirl Kitchen's Dish of the Month, which features recipes from Nigel Slater.


  1. Another stunning recipe. I love lamb and this sounds the perfect way to cook it. Thanks for joining in with Dish of the Month.

  2. That sounds lovely. Perfect comfort food. Tell me more about Seaweed Sprinkle?

    1. It was a lovely meal; I'll definitely be making it again. Seaweed Sprinkle is sustainably produced by a local Shetland company, Bod Ayre. They harvest and dry edible seaweeds and package them in this handy little grinder. I've been putting it in nearly everything these days! It's supposed to be really, really good for you - loads of nutrients and trace minerals and whatnot.

  3. this is what I love about living in the middle of nowhere with farmers as neighbours... I had nearly a whole pig in the freezer at one point... the lamb looks incredible, very melt in the mouth and perfect for this dreadful weather!

    1. Rural living certainly has its advantages! Locally grown meat always tastes so much better than the mass produced mistreated supermarket varieties, I think.

  4. Crikey I am so envious of the quality of this local food...it makes such a difference to flavours too. This is a lovely recipe and you really had me salivating. Thank you for getting involved.


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