8 to 10
- 5 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced 2cm thick
- 3 bunches of asparagus, trimmed and sliced, tips left whole
- a few handfuls of podded peas
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 x 2kg good-quality shoulder of lamb
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a bunch of fresh lemon thyme
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 x 500ml bottle of good-quality local cider
- a handful of shelled broad beans, if available
runny honey, to glaze
Preheat your oven to 220°C/450°F/gas 8. Place the leeks, asparagus stalks and half the peas into a snug-fitting roasting tray (just bigger than the lamb). Bash the garlic cloves with your fist and peel off the papery skin, then add the cloves to the tray and season with salt and pepper.
Rub a little salt, pepper and olive oil into the lamb and place on top of the veg. Scatter over a couple of sprigs of lemon thyme and the rosemary, then pour the cider into the tray and add a couple of swigs of cider vinegar. This will reduce down and create the most incredible flavour. Wet a sheet of greaseproof paper, scrunch it up then tuck it over the lamb. Place the tray in the oven, shut the door, and immediately reduce the temperature to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Cook for around 3½ hours, or until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone, basting every now and then.
Once done, transfer the lamb to a clean roasting tray and turn the grill on your oven to high. Using the remaining lemon thyme as a brush, glaze the lamb with a good layer of honey. Pop the tray under the grill on the middle shelf until it has a lovely sticky crust – keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t catch.
While the lamb is finishing, transfer the roasting tray with all the veg in to a medium heat on the hob. Add the asparagus tips, broad beans (if using) and remaining peas to the tray (you could also add baby spinach, sliced courgettes or cooked new potatoes at this stage if you like). Heat through for a couple of minutes then tip on to a nice big serving platter. Place the glazed lamb on top, pull the meat apart with forks and serve straight away.