There are a few sacrifices I’ve had to make since H started his low FODMAP diet, but one of the hardest was having to drop alliums from the repertoire, or at least the more frequent forms of them. No more onions, no more perfectly pureed garlic. So while we can still include the green stalks and leaves of various things like leeks, spring onions, garlic, etc, the flavour is undeniably different, and the ingredients simply don’t behave in the same way.
At the same time, I still want us to enjoy the same foods we did before as much as possible, because it’s tough for a teen to stand out sometimes, to be the “difficult” one, and the more I can do to normalise his dietary requirements and make them accessible for people to prepare, the better it will be in future for him and others on the same diet. So, much as I used to do for coeliac-friendly food at the shop in London.
H has always counted roast lamb and mutton among his favourite dinners, and now we’re in Yorkshire we’re lucky enough to have a phenomenal butcher at Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton, where they buy in locally-raised meat that has incredible flavour. And it doesn’t get much better than a whole shoulder of mutton. I’ve used this recipe for both dinner parties and simple family lunches, and it’s one of those glorious dishes that offers a huge reward for relatively little effort: 15 minutes of prep and you’re pretty much done until you have to cook the accompaniments, which themselves can be pretty low effort if needed.
Today, it’s just the three of us in the house for dinner, which means we’ll also get to enjoy a pile of leftovers. I write this as the mutton is slowly filling the downstairs with delicious smells, and knowing I’ve the rest of the afternoon free for a little gardening, and to pack away summer clothes that have barely been used this year. It’s time to embrace autumn, and this dish, served with fresh, seasonal vegetables, is a wonderful way to celebrate the arrival of colder days.
5 hours 30 minutes
4kg whole shoulder bone-in mutton
1 large carrot
1 bulb of fennel
400ml red wine
1 tbsp garlic-infused oil
2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
4 bay leaves
Garlic stalks and seed heads (optional)
- Take the meat out of the fridge an hour or two before you're ready to start cooking to bring it up to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.
- Slice the carrot and the fennel and use them to create a trivet in the bottom of a large roasting tin.
- Spread the fresh herb sprigs and bay leaves over the top of the trivet: if you're using the garlic stalks and seed heads, pop them on the top. If like me you're prone to caution, feel free to pop the seed heads into a muslin wrap so you can extract them easily later.
- Pat the shoulder of mutton/lamb dry with some kitchen paper or a clean tea towel, then season the bottom of the joint with half of the sea salt.
- Place the joint skin side up on the vegetable trivet and score it.
- Rub the garlic-infused oil over the scored skin, then season with the remainder of the sea salt.
- Put the joint in the oven for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, pour the red wine over the mutton, and the water into the tin, then cover the tin in foil to keep the steam in and put it back in the oven at 170C/150C fan.
- Cook for a further 4 hours and 30 minutes, until the meat is tender.
- Remove the tin from the oven and place the meat on a new tray, covering it with foil (reusing the foil from the original roasting is fine) before leaving it to rest for 15 minutes (or more if you like, but in that case wrap with a tea towel to help keep it warm).
- Pour the juices from the tin into a jug and skim off the fat.
- At this point, you have a choice: you can discard the vegetables completely, because they've already served their purpose and given their flavour to the juices, or since I hate food waste, I prefer to keep them to one side and put them into the soup next time I'm making some and in the colder months, that's fairly often.
- The retained juices make a good gravy: reduce it down a touch to concentrate it a bit further, thicken with a roux if you prefer it that way, and consider adding a splash of balsamic vinegar before seasoning and serving.
- And that's it: serve the meat with the gravy and your choice of accompaniments. We're fond of green beans and broccoli and either new potatoes or jacket spuds in this house, depending on the level of comfort food required. Naturally, as a family of three, we tend to have plenty of leftovers from this, which are great in sandwiches, stir-fries, or in a shepherd's pie. Tell me what your favourite way of using the leftovers is in the comments 🙂
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 1024Total Fat: 71gSaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 323mgSodium: 636mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 82g
The nutritional values given here are an estimate and provided for guidance only.