Hywel Griffith’s Welsh Lamb shoulder with a chunky tomato and fennel salad

  • Prep time 20 mins
  • Cook time 4 hrs 30 mins
  • Serves 5+

Ingredients

  • 1 PGI Welsh Lamb shoulder joint
  • 5 garlic cloves, boiled in water for 10 minutes
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves (about 15 leaves)
  • Salt

For the salad:

  • 5 spring onions, roughly sliced
  • 1 head of fennel, roughly chopped
  • 5 ripe plum tomatoes, roughly diced
  • Salt
  • 50ml olive oil (good quality)
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar (good quality)
  • 2 aubergines
  • 150g rocket
  • 1 ciabatta loaf

Method

  1. Preheat the smoker. It will be ready when the coals are just dying down and the temperature has reached 120°C.
  2. To prepare the lamb, make five randomly spaced incisions on the skin side of the shoulder.
  3. Push one blanched garlic clove and basil leaf into each of the incisions. (Blanching the garlic beforehand gives a more mellow flavour).
  4. Sprinkle plenty of salt over the lamb, ensuring it gets into the incisions – this helps to season while it cooks.
  5. Place the lamb (with the incisions facing up) onto the grill in the smoker. It will need to cook for 4-5 hours.
  6. Meanwhile prepare the salad. Add the spring onions, fennel, tomatoes, a good pinch of salt, the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Cover the salad with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge. The acidity of the vinegar will marry all the flavours together.
  7. After the lamb has been cooking for about 1 hour, place the aubergines on the grill next to the lamb.
  8. Take the aubergines off the grill after 1 – 2 hours. They should have a smoky appearance and reduced in size a little.
  9. Cut the aubergines in half lengthways then scrape the flesh out onto a chopping board. Add a pinch of salt to the aubergine flesh, chop it and place onto a large serving platter. Set aside.
  10. Take the salad out of the fridge and add the rocket. Roughly chop the remaining basil leaves and add to the salad. Mix well and season to taste.
  11. The lamb should be ready after 4 – 5 hours of cooking. If possible, check the temperature with a probe – for well done, slow cooked lamb that will easily come off the bone, the recommended core temperature for the meat is around 68°C and 72°C.
  12. Carefully take the lamb out of the smoker – it should have reduced in size a little and crispy on the corners, with the meat easily falling away from the bone. Place onto the serving platter with the bread, salad and chopped aubergine. Sprinkle a little more salt on top of the lamb if you like.
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