So many reasons to share this recipe with you – simplicity, comforting flavours and textures that can only come with slow – really slow – cooking. We spice up a half leg of lamb overnight, let the flavours become one with the lamb. Then cook for 8 hours – if you have a barbecue that allows the temperature to be adjusted then do put it on there (we did), but you can roast in the oven.
Now the pulled lamb is incredibly tender but may be a little on the dry side once the fat has melted out so we retain the cooking juices to make a sauce that we used to soften the shreds of meat and add a little sauce on top.
Grits –for our non US readers- are based on a Native American meal made from stoneground dried sweetcorn. It is rather like polenta but perhaps for geographical reasons, and different types of sweet corn, it has a slightly different taste. As with any grain such as polenta and porridge oats, processing can create a product that is as close as possible to nature and takes longer to cook but tastes better, or fast cooking varieties. The Kitchn has a nice piece on the difference between Polenta and Grits. As you can see, it looks very similar (well yellow grits do anyway) so if you are based in Europe, where grits are less easy to come by, polenta is a reasonable substitute, though we would use traditional polenta not the quick cooking products.
We did manage to get some stoneground yellow grits. Completely unprocessed, they took over an hour of careful summering and stirring to cook them thoroughly. We cooked them in a half milk, half water liquid, the grains swelling up to 4 times their volume, and retaining a nutty texture. Incredibly creamy but traditionalists would add lots of butter when serving. Rather liked good old mashed potatoes, a sloppy grain like this soaks up butter to give a glossy and rich texture and flavour. It is best to serve these freshly cooked but you can prepare ahead and then add a little extra cooking liquid when reheating if it sets slightly.
Any leftover meat has a myriad of uses – salads, sandwiches or put into a filo pastry pie.
- Half Leg of Lamb
- 4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 4 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoon chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce (anchovy sauce)
- 500ml (two cup) lamb stock
- 1 cup (50g) stoneground grits
- 2 cups (500ml) semi-skimmed milk
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- salt and pepper
- butter - 3 tablespoons
- 1 spring onion
- Place the lamb in a roasting dish and slash the skin randomly.
- Combine the ketchup, pineapple juice, chilli sauce, soy and fish sauce and garlic and rub HALF of this over the lamb.
- Cover the lamb and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- The next day, heat your barbecue or oven to 120 Degrees C (250 Deg F).
- Place the lamb in the oven or barbecue, pour a quarter of the lamb stock over the lamb and roast for 8 hours.
- Check the lamb 60-90 minutes, and spoon over a little more stock each time to stop it drying out too much. Reserve half the stock for later
- Half way through cooking the lamb, If you have a barbecue, soak a handful of woodchips (we recommend hickory) in water for 30 minutes. Then scatter these on the coal and cover the barbecue. This is optional and only really works if you have a covered barbecue otherwise you will get smoke everywhere!
- Once the lamb is roasted, let it rest for half an hour before cutting into it and shredding the meat with a pair of forks. The surface of the lamb may be blackened but this can be scraped away and discarded. Handle it with care as it will be super tender so will not need much work.
- Cook the grits according to packet instructions.
- If you have stone ground grits, first put them in a big bowl, cover with cold water. The flakes of chaff that rise to the surface need to be skimmed off.
- Drain off the water, then heat the grits with milk and water and salt until it comes to a simmer. Then cook on a low to medium heat, stirring with increasing frequency as the mixture thickens as it will stick to the pot. Cook as long as the packet indicates. You will find you are likely to need to cook it for longer than the packet says, just keep stirring till the texture is soft but has some nutty grains.
- Pour the remaining marinade and stock and any cooking juices into a saucepan and simmer till the mixture thickens to a sauce consistency.
- Mix a tablespoon of the sauce into the pulled lamb.
- Add the butter and some pepper to the grits, and stir these in
- Plate the grits, meat and the remains of the sauce.
- Top with chopped spring onions
Some other exciting lamb recipes from the interweb:
Jeanne has some great advice on how to cook a leg of lamb on the barbecue
Gary’s Lamb with Nori Crust has some exciting umami flavours.
Sally’s Lamb burgers with mint
Kavey’s Tandoori Leg of Lamb
Michelle’s Lamb Tagine
And Camilla uses a slow cooker for her pulled lamb
Have a great weekend! Are you planning on using your barbecue? What is going on it? we have plans for vegetables and tofu on our next charcoal cooking session.