The Irish chef Patrick Powell has opened Allegra in Stratford, London, just half a year before the London lockdown happened. He was heading Nuno Mendes’ Chiltern Firehouse before starting his own place, Allegra, that was proclaimed as one of the hottest new openings of 2019. I am really happy to be able to share something he cooks at his home. Some of the best dishes are not very photogenic, but I know how delicious this one is.
“This is a great dish to serve for the family as a treat or special occasion and we certainly need them right now. Buy your lamb shoulder from local butcher. It is a reasonably cheap cut of meat and goes a long way. I recommend a big nap after eating this. Any left-over meat can be used in a curry or sandwiches the next day. Keep the bones for stocks and broths too.”
Lamb shoulder Boulangère
Serves 4-6 people
For the lamb shoulder
1 lamb shoulder (bone in) approx. 1.4kg in weight
3 cloves of garlic
150ml of olive oil
A few sprigs of thyme, picked and chopped
A sprig of rosemary, picked and chopped
3g of Maldon salt
- Gently score the lamb shoulder
- Mince the garlic on a mircoplane. Put the garlic into a bowl with olive oil, salt, rosemary, thyme and a generous amount of black pepper
- Rub this mixture into the lamb shoulder making sure it goes into the lines you have scored.
- Leave over night in the fridge and remove at least a couple of hours before cooking the next day
For the Boulangère potatoes
6 white onions, peeled and finely sliced
40 ml of rapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
750ml of chicken or lamb stock (store bought is fine or ask your butcher for bones)
A few sprigs of rosemary picked and finely chopped
2kg Desiree potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline which is worth the investment
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add the finely sliced onions and some salt and cover with a lid. Cook for approx. 15 minutes until the onions begin to caramelise. Remove the lid. Cook for further 15-20 minutes until all the moisture has gone and the onions are a nice golden colour. Remove from the heat.
- Place alternating layers of the sliced potatoes in a baking dish that is big enough for the lamb shoulder to fit on top of.
- Season each layer with salt, pepper and rosemary until the dish is a third full. Add the caramelised onions and then more layers of potatoes until the dish is almost full. Cover with your chicken or lamb stock.
Cooking the lamb and potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 160C
- Place the lamb shoulder on a wire rack and place this over the tray of potatoes. Cover with two layers of foil.
- Cook for 4-5 hours, checking the meat every hour. The lamb should be coming off the bone when it is ready. All the juices from the lamb will fall onto the potatoes maximising the flavour.
- Remove the foil from the lamb, brush with some oil and turn the oven up to 180C for approximately 20 minutes until the potatoes and lamb are nicely caramelised.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes
- Place the lamb shoulder directly on top of the potatoes and serve with some nice salsa verde.