Rolled forequarter of lamb braised in a rich mushroom sauce

Rolled forequarter of lamb braised in a rich mushroom sauce

Dean Cambray

The forequarter is a secondary cut made up of many different muscles, with lots of connective tissue and fat. It is ideally suited to long, slow cooking. This is a great recipe to cook ahead of time as all the flavours intensify. As it cools, the fat rises to the surface and forms a protective seal, so you can happily make it up to four days in advance. It makes a hearty meal in itself, but I usually offer some warm crusty bread too, to mop up the sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
225g butter
9 garlic cloves, crushed
500g mixed mushrooms, (halved if they’re large)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2kg forequarter of lamb, boned
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
carrots, cut into 2 cm dice
2 sticks celery, cut into 2 cm dice
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup madeira or port
1.5 litres meat stock or water
5 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup parsley, chopped, to serve

Mushroom stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
125g sautéed mixed mushrooms, (see above)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tab fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
  2. Melt 75 g butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add 3 garlic cloves, mushrooms, water and a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook over a low–medium heat for 5–10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their liquid. Use a slotted spoon to lift out around a quarter of the mushrooms for the stuffing. Reserve the remaining mushrooms in their liquid for the braise.
  3. To make the stuffing, slice the mushrooms thinly and mix them with 6 garlic cloves and herbs.
  4. Lay the lamb forequarter, skin-side down, on your work surface. Season with salt and pepper then spread on the mushroom stuffing. Roll the forequarter up to form a fat log and tie securely with butcher’s string at 5 cm intervals.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole dish and brown the lamb all over. Remove it from the dish and transfer to a large plate. Add 150 g butter to the dish and melt over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté gently for 5 minutes until soft, but not coloured. Add the remainder of the garlic cloves, carrot and celery and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms and their liquid, together with the wine, Madeira, stock and thyme, and bring to the boil. Return the lamb to the dish and cover with a lid or aluminium foil. Bake in the oven for 2–2½ hours.
  6. At the end of the cooking time, remove the dish from the oven. Lift out the lamb and transfer it to a large plate. Place the casserole over a high heat and bring to the boil. Cook until reduced by half, to form a lovely thick sauce. You can prepare the dish to this stage up to 3 days ahead of time. Return the lamb to the casserole and leave to cool. When completely cold, cover and refrigerate.
  7. When ready to eat, reheat the casserole in a medium oven for 20 minutes. Lift the lamb out of the casserole and remove the string. Cut into thick slices and serve with plenty of sauce and a generous sprinkling of chopped parsley.
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