Long and Low....its that simple!
I find winter polarizing (pun intended!) It's cold, the days are short and the couch looks particularly inviting! However, it is also the time for Braising, or as I like to say, Long and Low cooking. As the name suggests, the time is generally long and the temperature low. This technique has been used for centuries, and for good reason - it works and works bloody well.
Secondary cuts of meat are King when it comes to flavour and texture, however they need a little tender loving care.
Below is a recipe that I love to pull together for friends and family when the wind is howling and the rain and snow are falling.
Boned Lamb Shoulder, Bay, Thyme, Garlic, Pot Sticker Gnocchi, Roast vegetables
1 kg Boned lamb shoulder
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large carrots
1 large brown onion
1 head garlic, crushed
500 mls chicken stock
cracked black pepper
ghee or tallow
Pot Sticker Gnocchi
800 gms Kennebec or Sebago potatoes, washed with skins left on.
300 gms plain flour, sifted
1 egg, large, lightly beaten
30 gms parmesan
Cracked black pepper
2 Parsnip, large
200 gms brussel sprouts
8 dutch carrots
8 baby beetroot
1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees c
2. Generously season the boned lamb shoulder and truss.
3. Heat a large fry pan with a little ghee or tallow.
4. Carefully place the lamb shoulder into the fry pan and colour the surface area of the shoulder well.
5. Meanwhile, roughly chop the two large carrots and one large brown onion. Add this to a a large baking tray with the crushed garlic, bay leaves and thyme.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
7. Add the caramelized lamb shoulder to the tray.
8. Deglaze the fry pan with the chicken stock and pour over the lamb shoulder.
9. Cover with baking paper and place into the hot oven.
10. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees c.
11. Reduce the temperature to 120 degrees and braise for 4-5 hours or until you can cut the meat with a spoon!
Pot Sticker Gnocchi.
1. Cut the potatoes into equal portions (otherwise they will cook unevenly, which equals lumps!!)
2. Place into a large saucepan with plenty of cold water and sea salt.
3. Bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until soft.
4. Strain and slightly cool. Carefully remove the skins and return to the heat to evaporate any extra water.
5. Quickly mash the potatoes, or ideally put through a potato ricer or mouli.
6. Add the beaten egg, parmesan and sifted flour.
7. Quickly combine all ingredients into a rough dough. N/B it is very important to not overwork the dough as the gluten in the flour will toughen and your gnocchi will be chewy, rather than soft pillows.
8. Check seasoning.
9. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
10. Divide the dough into 3 portions on a lightly floured bench. Roll each portion into sausage like lengths and cut into 5 cm pieces.
11. Carefully place 1/3 rd of the portioned gnocchi into the boiling, salted water. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until the gnocchi rises to the surface. Repeat until all the gnocchi are cooked. Strain and slightly cool.
12. Heat a large fry pan with Ghee and carefully place enough gnocchi in to cover the base. (be careful not to over crowd)
13. Cook on each side until browned. Check seasoning.
Remove the butchers twine from the lamb shoulder and cut into 2 cm slices. Strain the braising juices, place in a saucepan and reduce by half.
Place the pot sticker gnocchi equally onto 4 warmed plates with roasted vegetables and 3 generous slices of the lamb. Finish with reduced braising juices.