C. Louis Leipoldt was a master of simplicity in the art of cooking – a dictum that my mother also adhered to.
Keeping in mind this approach to honest cooking, this is my take on the shoulder of mutton (skaapblad). If given the choice between a leg of mutton and a shoulder, I would instinctively choose the shoulder. I firmly believe that the shoulder has more flavour simply because it is exposed to a greater area of bone.
Recently I was fortunate to be given such a shoulder from the heart of the Kamiesberg. Free range meat such as these reminds one of the open veld.
Slow cooked shoulder of mutton
- Whole shoulder of mutton, trimmed to fit a large oven dish
- Fine olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- High quality sea salt such as Maldon (Do yourself a favour and taste the difference between ordinary table salt and a high quality artisanal salt such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel)
- Two large sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Three to four slices of thinly sliced lemon and/or naartjie
- Four onions and four potatoes
- Two cloves of freshly crushed garlic.
- Rub the shoulder liberally with the olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with crushed garlic.
- Cover with foil and place in a moderate oven (160-180 C) for at least 3 hours.
- Remove from oven.
- Add the halved onions and peeled potatoes.
- Cook for another 2 hours, covered.
- Switch off oven and rest dish for 30 minutes.
Cut meat into thick slices and serve with steamed string-beans or broccoli.