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Slow Roast 5-Spice Lamb with Chinese Pancakes

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

Some friends told me about a year ago that they’d gone to a Chinese restaurant and, instead of having duck in pancakes, they’d had soft, shredded lamb. I became obsessed. I thought about it constantly. I endlessly imagined what it had tasted like. I dreamt of it. Enough! I just I had to cook it. I did. And then I didn’t stop. I think by now I could stir up the 5-spice mixture and get this in the oven in my sleep. But then, it is very, very easy.

Of course, I don’t make my own Chinese pancakes. For that matter, I’m told Chinese restaurants don’t either. Though please don’t feel confined to eating the lamb this way; it’s very good bundled into lettuce wraps, too. You may need to be rather brutal with the lettuce as you tear the leaves off to provide the edible wrappers for the lamb, so I suggest you need one to two icebergs. If you want to perk the leaves up a little, making sure they curve into appropriate respositories for later, leave them in a big bowlful of very cold water (throw in ice cubes too) for 20 minutes or so, then make sure you drain them well before piling them up on their plate.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Some friends told me about a year ago that they’d gone to a Chinese restaurant and, instead of having duck in pancakes, they’d had soft, shredded lamb. I became obsessed. I thought about it constantly. I endlessly imagined what it had tasted like. I dreamt of it. Enough! I just I had to cook it. I did. And then I didn’t stop. I think by now I could stir up the 5-spice mixture and get this in the oven in my sleep. But then, it is very, very easy.

Of course, I don’t make my own Chinese pancakes. For that matter, I’m told Chinese restaurants don’t either. Though please don’t feel confined to eating the lamb this way; it’s very good bundled into lettuce wraps, too. You may need to be rather brutal with the lettuce as you tear the leaves off to provide the edible wrappers for the lamb, so I suggest you need one to two icebergs. If you want to perk the leaves up a little, making sure they curve into appropriate respositories for later, leave them in a big bowlful of very cold water (throw in ice cubes too) for 20 minutes or so, then make sure you drain them well before piling them up on their plate.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Slow Roast 5-Spice Lamb
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

Metric Cups
  • 1 x approx. 1½ kilograms bone-in shoulder of lamb
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons chinese five spice
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons honey

To serve

  • approx. 20 chinese pancakes
  • iceberg lettuces (separated into leaves to use as wraps)
  • hoisin sauce
  • spring onions (cut into thin strips)
  • cucumber (cut into thin strips)
  • 1 x approx. 3½ pounds bone-in shoulder of lamb
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh gingerroot
  • 4 teaspoons chinese five spice
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey

To serve

  • approx. 20 chinese pancakes
  • iceberg lettuces (separated into leaves to use as wraps)
  • hoisin sauce
  • scallions (cut into thin strips)
  • cucumber (cut into thin strips)

Method

  1. Take the lamb out of the fridge for about an hour to come to room temperature and preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F. Line a roasting tin in which the lamb will sit snugly with a large piece of foil big enough to wrap around the lamb. Then place another large piece of foil on top, but in the opposite way to the first, giving you 4 ends of foil ready to make a parcel for your lamb.
  2. Mix the ginger, 5-spice, vinegar, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the honey together.
  3. Put the lamb skin-side down on the foil-lined tin, and slash into the flesh with a sharp knife. Pour about half of the spice mixture over it, and massage it in well (you might want to think of wearing CSI gloves for this), then turn the lamb over, slash the skin side and pour the rest of the spice mixture over, again massaging a little to try and help it get into the meat. Bring up the sides of the foil, to make a loose parcel, and scrunch together to seal tightly, then roast in the oven for 3½ hours.
  4. Remove the tin from the oven, unwrap the foil, pulling down the sides so that you can spoon or ladle the juices into a bowl or jug, which is quite a boring job, but not a hard one. (Set these juices aside. When they’re cold, refrigerate, then remove the fat. You can warm these up to reheat any leftover meat to eat with rice later.) Pour the remaining tablespoon of honey over the top of the lamb, and put back into the oven, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes, at which time it will have a barbecue-blackened soft crust. Let it stand out of the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Shred the meat – I just use a couple of serving forks – and transfer to a warmed wide bowl or platter. Eat in Chinese pancakes or lettuce wraps, along with some hoisin sauce and strips of spring onion and cucumber.
  1. Take the lamb out of the fridge for about an hour to come to room temperature and preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F. Line a roasting tin in which the lamb will sit snugly with a large piece of foil big enough to wrap around the lamb. Then place another large piece of foil on top, but in the opposite way to the first, giving you 4 ends of foil ready to make a parcel for your lamb.
  2. Mix the ginger, 5-spice, vinegar, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the honey together.
  3. Put the lamb skin-side down on the foil-lined tin, and slash into the flesh with a sharp knife. Pour about half of the spice mixture over it, and massage it in well (you might want to think of wearing CSI gloves for this), then turn the lamb over, slash the skin side and pour the rest of the spice mixture over, again massaging a little to try and help it get into the meat. Bring up the sides of the foil, to make a loose parcel, and scrunch together to seal tightly, then roast in the oven for 3½ hours.
  4. Remove the tin from the oven, unwrap the foil, pulling down the sides so that you can spoon or ladle the juices into a bowl or jug, which is quite a boring job, but not a hard one. (Set these juices aside. When they’re cold, refrigerate, then remove the fat. You can warm these up to reheat any leftover meat to eat with rice later.) Pour the remaining tablespoon of honey over the top of the lamb, and put back into the oven, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes, at which time it will have a barbecue-blackened soft crust. Let it stand out of the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Shred the meat – I just use a couple of serving forks – and transfer to a warmed wide bowl or platter. Eat in Chinese pancakes or lettuce wraps, along with some hoisin sauce and strips of scallion and cucumber.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead but you can refrigerate leftover lamb, within 2 hours of cooking, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Cooking juices can also be refrigerated in a separate container for up to 3 days.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead but you can refrigerate leftover lamb, within 2 hours of cooking, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Cooking juices can also be refrigerated in a separate container for up to 3 days.

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