I did the weekly roast dinner today and cooked a shoulder of Welsh lamb. I cooked it in the manner suggested by Gilli Davies in Celtic Cuisine (Graffeg, 2008; page 102). The meal turned out well and was enjoyed by all. However, I won’t be using the recipe again. It’s always instructive trying new recipes, especially when elements of it don’t work for you.
Peel an inch-long piece of fresh ginger and cut it into slivers. Make cuts in the lamb and insert ginger and fresh rosemary. Mix 1 oz melted butter and 2 tablespoons of clear honey and pour over the lamb [the ingredients listed include salt and pepper, which are never bought into play in the recipe – add them here]. Put the lamb in a roasting tin and pour over half of a measured 9 fl oz dry cider. Loosely cover in foil and roast in a moderate oven (190°C/375°F); allowing 25 minutes per pound. At ¾ stage remove foil and continue cooking, basting frequently with juices (add more cider if necessary). Remove joint from pan. Discard fat on top of juices [most of it in this case – kept for next week’s roast potatoes]. Pour in rest of cider and deglaze.
I served this with roast vegetables – a tray of roast potatoes (goose fat) and a tray of roast baby carrots and fennel (olive oil), some cabbage, and some freshly-made mint sauce; we opened a nice Rioja.
1. Ginger does not really work in this context. I will stick with my usual method of inserting slivers of garlic, plus rosemary, into the meat.
2. Cider does not really match lamb. I will stick with red wine.
3. Mixing butter with honey adds too much fat (lamb being a particularly fatty meat). Just drizzle honey straight over surface of lamb, possibly with a little olive oil.
4. Honey can be difficult in deglazing situations, as it easily burns. I scooped out some pan juices and made gravy with more cider in another pan.
The lamb was moist and tasty, but the combination of ingredients that looks good on the page did not give enough added value for this cook.