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Spinach stuffed lamb

Order the lamb in advance and ask your butcher to remove the blade bone. When stuffed in this way, the shoulder should retain its shape.
If the meat is firmly secured the stuffing should stay in place, but if a little does escape, use it as a garnish for the sliced lamb on the serving dish.

ingredients

serves 8
1.5 kg (3 - 3 1/2 lb) shoulder of lamb, blade bone removed
plain flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

spinach stuffing

50 g (2 oz) margarine or butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
225 g (8 oz) frozen chopped spinach
250 g (9 oz) pork sausagemeat
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint, or 1 teaspoon dried mint
good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Make the stuffing: melt the margarine in a saucepan, add the onion and celery and cook gently lor about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and lightly coloured but not browned.

2. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in a separate pan for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid from it as possible.

3. Mix the spinach into the fried onion mixture and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

4. Mash the sausagemeat in a bowl. Add spinach mixture and stir well. Stir in the egg, mint and nutmeg. Season well with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

6. With a sharp knife, carefully enlarge pocket left in the lamb by removal of the bone. Pack in prepared stuffing, pressing it down well. Draw edges of pocket together and secure with a meat skewer.

7. Cut a piece of foil nearly large enough to enclose the lamb. Line a roasting tin with the foil, then put the lamb, skin side up, in the tin. Season with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Pour the oil evenly over the surface of the lamb.

8. Bring the foil up closely around the sides of the lamb but do not cover the surface.

9. Roast the lamb in the oven for 2 hours, basting occasionally with the juices in the foil.

10. Increase oven heat to 2OOC/400F/Gas 6, open out foil and cook for a further 30 minutes until the skin is crisp and browned and the meat is cooked through (the juices run clear when the lamb is pierced with a fine meat skewer).

11. Remove skewer and transfer lamb to a warmed carving dish. Return to oven turned to lowest setting for 10 - 15 minutes for meat to
settle' so that it is easier to carve, then slice and serve.

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