Braised lamb with caraway thyme

Allegra McEvedy transforms humble lamb shoulder into a sumptuous treat with honey, saffron and herbs
By Allegra McEvedy
Braised lamb with caraway thyme
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 1.5 g lamb shoulder, on the bone, trimmed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large wedges
  • 2 sticks celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 splash sherry vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stalks removed
  • 2 knobs butter

For the stock

  • 1.5 litres light chicken stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 large handful caraway sprigs thyme, tied with string
  • 1 tbsp honey

Tips and Suggestions

Caraway thyme hails from the Mediterranean islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Majorca. Its scent is reminiscent of caraway (rather like a blend of fennel and cumin). If you can't find caraway thyme, you could replace it with a teaspoon of caraway seeds, or a bunch of regular thyme.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Put the meat, skin-side up, in a roasting tin and surround it with the carrots, potatoes and celery. Sprinkle a few good pinches of salt over everything.

2. For the stock: heat all the stock ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Once it is boiling, pour it over the lamb in the roasting tin.

3. Cover the roasting tin with foil or greaseproof paper, sealing well around the edges. Put it into the oven to cook for 1 hour.

4. Carefully turn the meat over and gently shuffle the vegetables about. Cover again and return to the oven for another hour.

5. Check the lamb for doneness and give it another half an hour if it's not really tender. When cooked, take the lamb from the oven. Transfer it to a board or platter, turning it back skin-side up. Cover with foil and leave to rest.

6. Strain the cooking liquor into a clean saucepan, removing a ladleful to cook the kale. Bring the remainder to a hard boil and reduce to a saucy consistency. Taste and season as desired with salt, pepper, honey and a splash of sherry vinegar.

7. Put the kale in another saucepan with the reserved cooking liquor, butter and some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until the kale is tender and the liquid has evaporated.

8. Serve the kale with the lamb, other vegetables and sauce, preferably on a majestic-looking plate with a fine bottle of pinot noir.

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