On a recent episode of Jamie Oliver (not sure which series) he roasted a whole shoulder of lamb for four hours, saying once you tried it you'd never go back to leg. As much as I love a pink piece of meat, like leg of lamb, I adore slow roasted, melt in the mouth cuts so thought I'd take him up on the challenge. Never one to follow recipes to the letter though I decided to take advantage of living in a big ethnic area and go for a shoulder of goat. At least I think it's goat, the butcher said it was even if the price sticker said 'M. Shoulder', the 'M' of which I can only think of as being mutton. I swear I had a conversation with someone once though who said all the halal butchers in the area called their goat mutton, so if you wanted a piece of mutton they weren't the place to visit. Either way it wasn't lamb and my guess is goat.
Unfortunately he only had half shoulders on display, big thick meaty half shoulders but not the full shoulder I wanted. He said he could sort me one out though and went out back, returning from the fridge and holding up a big piece for my inspection from afar. I gave him the nod, took the bag and made my way home. It was only when I got home that I noticed it wasn't quite what I was inspecting. Instead of the thick meaty (half) shoulders I'd seen this seemed to be half a rib cage and neck, a shoulder and a little stump of leg, definitely a shoulder - and the rest - just off a pretty scrawny animal by the looks of it. Too late to stop now though so I cracked on with the recipe anyway. If a few hours sealed cooking in a low heat couldn't sort this piece of meat out nothing could.
On TV JO cooked his for 4 hours at 180 C, I chose 160 C and ended up giving it 6 hours. If you're using lamb I would go with his cooking instructions as most lamb is far more tender than the scraggly thing I had. Scraggly or not, once cooked it was a delight, it was a bit of an effort getting the meat off, fiddling between ribs and stripping the neck, but once you did you got melt in the mouth, rich strands. It released masses of marmite like goo too which made for a meaty gravy to add the capers and mint to (did I mention the caper and mint sauce?). The sharpness of the capers worked well with the rich meat.
Slow Roast Shoulder of Goat (Mutton or Lamb)
1 whole shoulder of goat, mutton or lamb
Bunch of rosemary and bunch of thyme, or two of rosemary
1/2 a head of garlic, separated but cloves still in their skin
Half a litre of stock, lamb or chicken
1 heaped TB of capers, roughly chopped
Big handful of mint leaves, shredded
Pre-heat the oven to full temperature.
Lightly score the meat all over then season well with salt and pepper.
Place half the rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves in a baking tray, place the shoulder on top then scatter the rest over. Drizzle with a little olive oil just to get it going.
Seal the baking tray with a double layer of foil, place into the oven turning the oven down to 160 C as you do. Leave in the oven for 6 hours for goat or mutton , 4 for lamb.
Remove the shoulder to a board then set about the gravy, remove as much of the herbs and excess fat as you can then place the baking tray over a flame. Chuck in a dessertspoonful of flour into the remaining fat and cook for a minute or two until starting to colour then add in the stock, simmering and stirring till thick.
Strain the gravy through a sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to get as much from the garlic and herbs as you can. Add the capers and mint, seasoning if you think it needs it.
Pull the meat of the shoulder into bite sized bits and serve with boiled potatoes and spring greens.