Submitted by Katie Sullivan Bradeen of Sheep and Pickle Farm, Brookfield VT. She gets her copy of Edible Boston from her employer, Fat Toad Farm. Although our farm has not been in operation for very long, we've been cooking lamb creatively since we first home-slaughtered two Icelandic sheep a few years ago. It didn't take long before we branched out from shepherd's pie to simple curries to more adventurous curries and finally to the recipe I offer now. This recipe is just as good if not better when prepared with mutton, the much-maligned meat that almost no one has actually tried! We choose younger sheep (under 5 years old) and those from mild-flavored breeds (Icelandics and Border Leicesters are great). The meat of older animals just has more flavor. This recipe also works well with more awkward cuts, like shoulder, breast, and stew meat. My super-taster spouse Jaska Bradeen came up with this recipe based on what he thought barbecue should taste like.
Rich with the flavors of maple, pepper, and smoky Lapsang Souchon tea, this special spice mixture blows bottled sauces out of the water. This is a long, slow-cooking dish, perfect for putting in after breakfast and before a day of gardening. Enjoy it for supper with fresh sweet rolls, cornbread, or baked potatoes. Your family will fight over the leftovers. Enjoy!
1 6-8 pound bone-in shoulder of lamb or mutton 3 tablespoons smoked paprika 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon Coleman's mustard 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon lemon pepper 2 teaspoons Lapsang Souchon tea, ground 1/2 teaspoon ground sage 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup lemon juice mixed with 1/2 cup water OR 1 cup red wine 1/2 cup maple syrup OR 1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup sorghum molasses
Preheat oven to 220° F.
Combine spices, rub on meat.
Place meat in a large Dutch oven or covered casserole dish. Add lemon juice/water mix or wine to the bottom of the pan. Cover and place in oven for 8-12 hours. No need to poke it, fuss, or worry about it.
When the meat is fully tender, remove from the oven. Carefully remove the meat from the bones, pulling the meat apart into strings. Discard the bones and any large fatty pieces. Taste the liquid and add additional salt to your taste. The liquid should be strongly flavored. If it is not, reduce it on the stove apart from the meat until reduced by a quarter to a half. Once the liquid is a consistency you like, add the sweetener you prefer. Vary the amount of sweetener according to your taste as well. We like it sweet!