Epaule d’agneau de lait aux épices douces

 

Celebrate the unique gastronomic offerings and relaxed rituals of midday meals in Provence with this delicious, authentic Provençal recipe

 

Serves 4
4 shoulders of milk-fed lamb (about 1lb/550g each)
fleur de sel (or coarse sea salt) to taste
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
50ml olive oil
16 large stalks of fresh asparagus
1 bunch of wild asparagus
50g butter
300ml lamb jus
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the spice mix

5 teaspoons (10g) Four Spice
6 cinnamon sticks (12g)
30g ground black pepper
20g white cardamom powder
6g ground turmeric
20g powdered ginger
45g fennel seeds

 Blend the spices for the spice mix in a blender and measure out 1 teaspoon per lamb shoulder.

 Trim the fat from the lamb. Season with the salt and spice mix as above. Rub the meat with the thyme and the crushed garlic. Cook in the oven with the olive oil at 140°F (60°C) for 12 hours.

 When the meat is ready, prepare the fresh asparagus. Removing the woody ends, cut into even-sized pieces and tie in bundles of five. Cook in salted boiling water for 5 minutes.

 Wash and trim the wild asparagus, leaving 1in. (3cm) of head. Cook in the salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain. Foam the butter by heating in a pan until it froths, being careful not to burn it. Roll the wild asparagus in the foamed butter.

 Season, and serve with the lamb and jus.

 

An extract from Lunch in Provence by Rachael McKenna and Jean-André Charial – originally published in FrenchEntrée Magazine.