There has been a new addition to Newcastle dining this week that I think will fast become a favourite. Mr. Terry Layborne has opened The Broad Chare on the Quayside, a traditional pub which majors on its food. It has elements of St. John about it with rabbit pie, crispy pigs' ears, hot scotch eggs wrapped in haggis and pork pies on the menu. Little bar snacks are really interesting and delicious, while for those in search of more serious sustenance there are pies, ribs of beef, daily fish dishes and a seven hour shoulder of lamb to share... The lamb is for five people and at my sister's birthday supper we couldn't quite persuade enough people to go for it, next time it is a definite...
As we hadn't been able to persuade the table to go for the seven hour lamb we decided to do a version of our own at home over the weekend. The Braised shoulder of Lamb is based on a St. John Recipe, from the book 'Beyond Nose to Tail' which takes about 3 hours. It is a long but simple dish, the lamb just sits in the oven slowly softening and melting.
I decided to serve the lamb with a Barley and Pomegranate Salad to make it a fresh Spring type meal. It is a simple salad of 200g barley cooked until soft with a bit of bite still, drained, mixed with diced celery, 60ml olive oil, 45ml sherry vinegar, half a teaspoon of all spice, salt and pepper, then left to cool until later.
We used half a shoulder of lamb from Stewart and co. butchers, which would feed three people. Firstly peel about 15 baby onions and the same number of cloves of garlic, it seems a lot, but their flavour just slowly sinks into the meat while it cooks and is delicious.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a roasting tin that you can put in the oven with the meat in it. When the oil is hot add the onions and garlic and brown. Lay a bundle of thyme and rosemary on top of the onions and garlic when they are done and place the lamb on top of everything.
Pour 500ml of chicken stock and ¼ bottle of white wine over the lamb. Season the lamb generously and then cover the whole tin with foil. Put it in a gentle oven, about 150°C for up to 3 hours, until it is falling of the bone. When it is done you can just pull it apart it is so soft. The flavours are really amazing, the herbs, onions and garlic really perfume the gentle soft meat.
For the final stage of the salad add a big handful of chopped dill, mint and parsley and the seeds of one pomegranate to the barley mixture. It's really fresh and delicious with the soft warm lamb. I also put together a little leek fritter on the side, but will tell you how to make these another time.