Slow-roasted lamb, racks and spiced meatballs with rich wine gravy

Slow-roasted lamb, racks and spiced meatballs with rich wine gravy

Preparation time
30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time
over 2 hours

Serves 6

From Hairy Bikers' Best of British



For the slow-roasted lamb

  • 1kg/2lb 4oz lamb shoulder, knuckle end
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 large shallots, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 300ml/10fl oz white wine
  • 25ml/4fl oz port
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spiced lamb meatballs

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2½ tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 long shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 250g/9oz lamb mince
  • 50g/2oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ lemon, zest only
  • 100-150g/3½-5oz caul fat (available from specialist butchers)

For the rack of lamb

  • 2 x French trimmed racks of lamb (each with 6-7 cutlets)
  • 40g/1½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  2. Put the lamb into a medium roasting tin. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the garlic, shallots or onions, rosemary and thyme in a together until well combined and place on top of the lamb. Roast for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.

  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

  4. Pour the wine and one tablespoon of water around the lamb; cover the tin tightly with foil and roast for a further three hours. Remove the foil and return the lamb to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until very tender and falling off the bone.

  5. Meanwhile, for the meatballs toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over a low heat for 30-60 seconds. Grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Add the coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon and salt.

  6. Return the pan to the heat and add two tablespoons of the olive oil, the shallots and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the spice mixture and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool for five minutes.

  7. Add the lamb mince, breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest. Mix until well combined, then shape into 12 small balls using your hands. Cut the caul, if using, into small squares and use to wrap each meatball.

  8. Heat half a tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook the lamb meatballs for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden-brown and cooked through. Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, and leave to cool.

  9. To prepare the racks of lamb, score the fat. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan and brown the meat, fat-side down, over a medium heat for five minutes. Brown on the remaining sides, then remove from the heat and put on a baking tray, with the racks facing each other and the bones crossing at their tips.

  10. Mix the breadcrumbs with the herbs and garlic. Stir in a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brush the fat side of the lamb with the mustard and press the breadcrumbs onto it carefully and firmly. Cover and chill until ready to cook.

  11. Take the shoulder of lamb out of the oven and put on a board. Skim off as much visible fat as possible from the tin. Pour the cooking liquor through a sieve into a saucepan and add the port and redcurrant jelly. Bring to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to approximately 300ml/10fl oz, stirring occasionally. Mix the cornflour with the water and stir into the lamb gravy. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

  12. Shred the shoulder meat using two forks and place the flesh into a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir four tablespoons of the port sauce into the lamb shoulder.

  13. Press one-sixth of the chopped lamb into a chef’s ring and then carefully remove the ring . Repeat five more times and place onto the baking tray with the meatballs.

  14. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  15. Remove the lamb racks from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 15 minutes, then roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes for medium, or until cooked to your liking. Remove the lamb from the oven, cover loosely with aluminium foil and leave to stand for 8-10 minutes. Carve each rack into individual ribs.

  16. Cover the meatballs and lamb shoulder loosely with aluminium foil. Place in the oven, on a shelf under the lamb, for 10-20 minutes, or until piping hot.

  17. To serve, place a piece of each cut of meat on a plate and serve with green vegetables.