Ingredients (serves 8)
- 1 shoulder of lamb, about 2.5kg in weight
- 150ml olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 garlic bulbs, peeled, plus extra sliced cloves if marinating
- sea salt and black pepper
- 8 medium onions, peeled
- 250ml balsamic vinegar
If you like, the lamb can be marinated for a day in the olive oil with 6-8 springs of thyme and some extra thinly sliced garlic and turn occasionally. Remove it from the fridge a couple of ours before cooking it, to have it at room temperature.
Preheat the oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Remove the marinate from the lamb, then season with salt and 4-6 turns of freshly milled pepper. If not marinated, rub the olive oil into the meat, and then season with salt and pepper. place the meat into a large casserole with the whole peeled onions, also drizzled with oil and seasoned well. Add some oil on the bottom of the casserole and place it into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the lamb and onions have coloured.
Remove the casserole from the oven and add about 8 springs of thyme as well as the garlic cloves. Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C/225°F/Gas 1/4, and return the meat to the oven. Cook for 5 hours with the lid on, then add the balsamic vinegar, remove the lid, and cook for another hour.
Place the casserole onto low heat to reduce any excess liquids. Baste the lamb and onions with these during the reducing without letting them stick and burn.
Serve the soft meat cut in pieces with the onions, some of the jus, a few cloves of garlic and some mashed potato.
Note: depending on when you are going to be eating this dish, lunch or dinner, you want to put it in the oven a “meal” before. For lunch, you want to put it in at 8am and for dinner put it in at 2pm, as it will take between 6 and 7 hours to cook.