Mike Emmett, the photographer who brings the pages of TMix+ to life with his superb images, is a great fan of slow-cooking meat, something he does regularly, filling his home and studio with those brilliant aromas of lamb, and garlic, and, in this case, melting anchovies. It is, he says, a memory of his childhood in New Zealand, when Sunday lunches with family starred slow-roasted two-tooth mutton, which it could be said, is a cooking method that has mutton dressed as lamb.
This method may be the simplest fast-food, slow-food recipe you could add to your repertoire, although there are different schools of temperature and time. Mike’s a seven-hour,
130C evangelist, Jamie Oliver suggest four hours at 170C, and Raymond Blanc’s version is to cook for four hours at 150C. We were somewhere in the middle, at 140C for five hours, with another 30 minutes covered, oven off (it all depends on knowing your oven!). All cover the lamb with baking paper, and cooking foil, and in each case, the lamb, still covered,
is allowed to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving; the ideal time to get the rest of the show on the road.
You might wonder why we suggested “fast-food, slow-food”, something of a conundrum, but the fast-food reference is about the time spent actually cooking, and the minute levels of energy or creativity required to feed a large family. Preparing any version of this dish takes no more time than punching a few slits into the lamb, and inserting cloves
of garlic and/or anchovies, then letting the oven do the work for you for the next four to seven hours. Once the oven has done its job, it is truly fast food: there to grab and eat any
way you like.
It’s also drawing a long bow to suggest that this is a TMix+ dish, but then that’s why we added the + sign, and also provided an optional flavour addition. Much of the world does, in many cases, revolve around the Thermomix, but not all. We also had to include this recipe in this edition as an homage to not just our photographer, but also to the humble, but wonderful anchovy.
- Rub the lamb all over with the sliced head of garlic, pushing hard against the flesh.
- Poke slits in lamb, and insert eight of the sliced garlic cloves, and eight anchovies. You can start baking now, without adding the paste if you prefer.
- Blitz the rosemary leaves 10 seconds/speed 10. Scrape down and repeat until the rosemary is powdered. Scrape down again.
- Without cleaning the bowl, add the rest of the anchovies, olive oil, the rest of the garlic and chillies, and blend 10 seconds/speed 10. Scrape down the bowl, and do it again 10 seconds/speed 10 to form a thick paste. If you need more garlic or anchovies to form a thick paste, add and blend again.
- Wipe the marinade over the lamb, and push deep into the slits, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Allow to return to room temperature.
- Place the leeks (carrots or parsnips can also be used) at the bottom of a baking tray, and add water to come half way up the leeks. Place the lamb on top, and cover the lamb with baking paper, and silver foil. Bake in a 140C oven for five hours (with another 30 minutes covered in the oven, with the oven turned off), or until the lamb breaks apart in your fingers. As oven temperatures vary, this time could vary by 30 minutes either way.
- Cover the lamb and the leeks with foil, and allow to rest. When rested, remove the leeks and suck them for a life-changing experience. Serve the lamb with your favourite accompaniments, or just gnaw at it for a throwback to medieval times.