As a kiwi dealing with sheep or lamb jokes was something i got used to living and working oversea's. I remember once been at a party and there was a blow up sheep going around, her name was baa-bra lol. However slow cooked lamb is no laughing matter, its a thing of puree beauty in the cooking world. Slow cooking or the art of braising is my favourite cooking method, you can leave your smoker or traditional roast at the door, i will out braise your best recipe any day of the week. I used to and still do get a little bit excited when i get to braise, even living in a hot country like Australia nothing quite like slow cooked lamb paired with world famous potatoes its food porn at its best. I love all the little attentions to detail that a required in braising, seeing it come together before its wrapped up like a present and offered to the oven god for a good 3 to 5 hours for transformation. So firstly turn your oven up hot around 240 Celsius, i like to get the lamb shoulder for braising the fatter tougher cuts are best suited to braising, for easy use a boned shoulder from your butcher and if they can give you the bone great, in a heavy based roasting tray season the lamb heavily with salt and pepper, take a big bunch of rosemary and rip it up all over the lamb rubbing it. Lay the lamb with the fat side down to help protect the meat., add the bone in the tray to roast as well. Now put it in the oven and roast it for a good 30 to 45 minutes until it starts to go golden and crisp up. Take 1 bulb of garlic and smash it with something, break it up all over the lamb, use some tong to try and rub it into the lamb, give it another 5 mins in the oven, take it out lower the temp to 150 Celsius, now we will prepare the braising liquid. Place a heavy base sauce pan on a high heat, add a dash of olive oil, roughly chop 2 onion 4 sticks of washed celery and 2 carrots, put the vegetables in the pan and cook for around 5 mins stirring frequently, the aim is to caramelise the veggies, once they start to golden brown, smash another bulb of garlic and rip another large bunch of rosemary and through it in, cook for another 2 minutes, take it off the heat and let it cool slightly, add 100ml of balsamic vinegar and 500ml of chicken stock, if you kept the bone add this back in now, bring to the boil and the pour the whole thing over the lamb, the liquid should come halfway up the lamb, if needed add some water to achieve this. Rip of a piece of baking paper the size of the tray and cover the lamb, rip about 4 layers of tin foil and cover the whole tray and really crimp it tight around the sides to keep all the steam in, now put it in the oven and as tony soprano would say forget about it!!! Depending on the size around the 3 hour mark take the lamb out and a spoon should push straight through the lamb, if not keep cooking until it reach this point. Leave to rest in the cooking juices for a good 45 minutes take the lamb out gently, it will probably break up but thats exactly what what you want. Strain the liquid into a sauce pan bring to the boil, and then thicken with a little corn flour. Take about 4 tablespoons of cornflour and mix to a paste with cold water, when the liquid is boiling slowly whisk in the cornflour mix until you reach the perfect thickness,
serve with potato God recipe for perfect roast potatoes and some steamed greens , life will be good.