Lamb is a delicious focal point for that special dinner with friends or family. So why not try this delicious recipe from award-winning chef Neven Maguire who recently created a version of this dish at a cookery demonstration in the Clonmel Park Hotel, using lamb from Tom Power’s Premier Meats craft butcher shop in Clonmel. The dish was delicious and a ‘real highlight’ he said! So why not have a go yourself!
BRAISED SHOULDER OF LAMB WITH SWEET POTATO GRATIN
A version of this dish often makes an appearance on Neven’s Sunday lunch menu at his award winning Macnean Restaurant or he uses it as an element on a tasting plate of Irish lamb. “I just love to showcase the versatility of lamb. Make sure you ask your local craft butcher to trim, bone and roll the shoulder for you so that you end up with a nice shape for presentation,” he says.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/gas mark 3).
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb shoulder and brown all over for 6–8 minutes, turning regularly with tongs. Add the carrots, celery, leek, onion and garlic and cook for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are golden brown.
Place the lamb and vegetables in a large, deep roasting tin. Cover with the stock, red wine, herbs and tomato purée. Season to taste, then cover with foil and cook in the oven for 3 hours, until the lamb is really tender. Leave to cool completely and rest in the juices.
Once it has cooled, remove the lamb from the pan. Strain the juices into a clean bowl and discard the vegetables. Cover the juices and keep in the fridge until needed. Cut off the string, then tightly roll in a double layer of tin foil to create a firm sausage shape. When cold, place in the fridge overnight to firm up.
Place the reserved braising juices in a pan and add in the Madeira, vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for 25–30 minutes, until reduced by half to a sauce consistency. Season to taste and keep warm.
When ready to serve, remove the tin foil from the lamb cylinder and trim off the ends, then carve into 4 x 5cm (2in) slices. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil and the knob of butter. Once the butter stops sizzling, add the lamb pieces and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown and nicely warmed through.
To serve, spoon the potato gratin onto each warmed plate using a 9cm (3 3/4in) cooking ring. Place the crispy braised lamb beside and spoon over the braising jus.
This whole dish can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. The shoulder is best cooked at least the day before so that it can be rolled really tight to give the joint a good shape.
SWEET POTATO GRATIN
600 ml (1 pint) milk
600 ml (1 pint) cream
4 garlic cloves, crushed
good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsle
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
knob og (1 lb) potatoes, peeled
450 g (1 lb) sweet potatoes, peeled (preferably orange-fleshed)
salt and freshly ground white pepper