We eat a lot of lamb in our house, and I mean a lot. Whether it’s lamb chops, lamb stew, shepherd’s pie or a night of lamb kofta wraps covered in hummus. But there is nothing more that states “family dinner” for me than a lamb roast, any day, not just Sunday. This is not something I grew up with.
Since I find the kitchen a bit like my man-cave I prefer a slow roasted lamb. Although it takes a little longer in overall in cooking time there is a certain satisfaction to the end result when that succulent meat falls apart, and the flavours fill the palette.
My first real exposure to lamb was in my early teenage years. Growing up in inner city Sydney most of my close friends were Greek and we would regularly grab a lamb gyros (a bit like a kebab) on the way home from school.
Around Easter time, lamb was part of the family meal for my friends, if not the main meal for most of them. On many occasions I was fortunate enough to be included and invited to be part of the family. These are some of my fondest memories. On more than a couple occasions this included a whole lamb being slow cooked over an open pit BBQ.
Normal roast lamb, which I also love, requires attention and obsessive temperature checking to ensure it is done the way you would like, and I get this wrong more often than I wish to admit. Usually when it’s wrong I get conservative and over cook it.
Slow roasting takes most of this anxiety out of the process where timing and inside meat temperature become less important. The process of slow cooking helps breakdown the fat and sinew in the meat and rather than be dry it becomes juicier, with the help of stock and cooking in a deep casserole dish.
After trying many a recipe to get close, this one seems to work more often than not and with the addition of some traditionally Greek flavours and it reminds me most of those holiday weekends growing up and spending a lot of time with my Greek friends and their families.