Excitedly I purchased a 2kg lamb shoulder and set about the five hour cooking process. I know five hours is a big commitment (possibly longer than a Kardashian marriage) but very little labour is required.
Now, this isn't a difficult recipe, but it requires a few things to be done exactly right for it to work to perfection. Most importantly, the covering in foil to ensure no steam escapes.
2kg lamb shoulder trimmed of the chunks of fat
6+ cloves or a head of garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
375 mils verjuice or white wine vinegar (the verjuice is the best!)
500g kumatos or small tomatoes on the vine
500g cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 small jar or bottle of sugo (I use Benfatti Sicilian Cherry Tomato Sauce which you can buy at many markets around Brisbane, at Thomas Dux in Sydney and online HERE) If you are unable to get your hands on sugo then use about 300mils of a good passata or pasta sauce.
Heat oven to 150 degrees C
Place lamb into a large baking dish.
Peel and crush two cloves of garlic and mix with tomato paste and oil in a small cup.
Brush or spread the tomato mixture over the lamb.
Pour verjuice into pan.
Cover with baking paper then two sheets of foil, sealing tightly to ensure steam stays in during the cooking process.
Into oven for four hours. NO PEAKING!
When four hours is up, remove from oven. VERY carefully remove foil and paper.
To the liquid around the dish add the tomatoes on the vines, the cut up tomatoes, a couple more of the garlic cloves crushed then the rest garlic whole and the herbs.
Drizzle with a little oil and back into the oven uncovered for 1 hour.
~here is where it can get a little tricky~
Transfer the lamb and using a large serving spoon and egg flip, remove the vine tomatoes to remain in tact to a serving dish. Then scoop out most of the tomatoes and the garlic cloves.
Pour all liquid into a heat proof jug and using a spoon remove as much of the fat from the top as you can. Then return liquid to the baking dish onto the stove top.
Pour in the sugo or passata and simmer and stir over a medium heat until the liquid is well reduced (10+ mins)
Pour over meat and tomatoes in the serving dish and send to the table. With large forks to pull apart the meat.
I serve to polenta and a crisp salad, some Italian red wine.
Any questions, fire away :)
There was concern from the guests of how I would clean the linen. One actually suggested I throw it away. But it's perfectly clean again after many an Italian tomato infused meal. Tucked away, stain free and ironed ready for the next event. There is a post in that I am sure :)