The Provenance Lamb Shoulder
Labelled on our site as the “Oyster shoulder”, this is a wonderful cut of meat, tender and lean with the fore-shank, shoulder bone and blade still intact. This cut is a perfect contender for quick cooking and serving pink (med-well done) or slow cooking to concentrate the flavours and, dare I say it, pulling the meat to arrange in warm salads, place in steamed Bao buns, slider rolls, soft flour tortillas or wraps.
I can’t help but smile when I talk about the current trend of serving pulled meat. It reminds me of a recent post I read on Facebook Hipster Suffers Allergic Reaction After Eating Pork That Wasn’t Pulled. Even though I am chuckling as I type, I have to say just the same, this is a wonderful time and cost-effective way of serving a lamb.
Slow cooking of the shoulder can be executed a few different ways, from, pot roasting, confit down in olive oil with aromats or the way I personally like, is to use the good old GLAD oven bag that you can pick-up easily from the supermarket.
Place a selection of fresh herbs, some thinly sliced garlic, fennel bulb and onion in the oven bag as a flavoring bed for the lamb shoulder. As the meat slowly cooks these aromats will produce a flavor enhanced vapor that will not only prevent moisture being lost from the meat, but will help in enhancing the clean natural flavor of our lamb.
Set the bag and aromats on a low sided tray or shallow roasting dish, rub the shoulder with oil, salt & pepper, place in the bag and then fold over the opening of the bag back under the lamb shoulder to seal in moisture during the cooking process but still allows any build-up of pressure to escape without blowing up the bag like a balloon and possibly bursting.
Place the bagged-up lamb into a preheated 120°C oven or equally as good under a hooded barbecue and cook 5-6 hours for a 1.4 kg shoulder. Cooking is successful when you can push the meat off the bone and feel it release easily and not spring back. Next, allow the lamb to rest for 30-40 minutes. Whilst still warm remove the meat from the bone into a clean bowl, decant of the fat and discard leaving the juices and aromats behind, strain the juices over the meat and toss through pulling the meat apart into bite-size strands as you go.
At this point, you can cover the meat with tin foil and place back into a warm oven 160°c oven and hold until you are ready to serve, another way to use the meat is to place the portions of meat into a small ziplock or vacuum bags and regenerate by dropping the single or multiple portions into a sous-vide or water bath when ordered.
Serving suggestions are endless, but one way that I like to serve is by wrapping up the pulled lamb in a thin Yorkshire Pudding pancake ( about 25cm in diameter ) a good smear of hummus, caramelized confit onions a picked mix, of watercress and rocket leaves dressed with green chili and lemon juice. But I am sure the creative chef in you will do something quite special with this amazing Provenance lamb.