Nestled in Thyme's 'village within a village,' you will find The Ox Barn restaurant. Under the direction of Head Chef Charlie Hibbert, Thyme curate amazing dishes inspired by their rural surroundings. As Spring rears its head, the team have provided the perfect lamb recipe for you to cook at home...
This week's lamb recipe
'We have a herd of Welsh black mountain sheep at Thyme, who tend the fields and pin back hedgerows and fruit trees in the orchard if they get half a chance. They are also used in the restaurant and form a key part of our menus throughout the year. Once butchered, we use the meat in a wide variety of recipes. Whole braised lamb shoulders make for a magnificent centrepiece in a meal and complement a wide array of goodies from our kitchen garden and suppliers.'
For the lamb
1 whole lamb shoulder (approx. 2kg)
1 bottle of white wine
750ml chicken stock or water
1 fennel bulb
6 celery sticks
1 head of garlic
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Pinch of chilli flakes
For the salsa verde
1 large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers
10 best anchovies
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
Olive oil to cover
For the breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of chilli
For the salsify
8 salsify sticks
1 lemon, juiced
100g unsalted butter
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt flakes & freshly cracked black pepper
Bunch of watercress (washed)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (normal) | 160°C (fan) | gas mark 4.
Patience is a virtue...
The lamb takes 5 hours to cook, but it is worth it! Place the whole lamb shoulder in a deep roasting tray. Next, chop the vegetables into large chunks and scatter them around the lamb. Pour over the wine and stock and scatter in the fennel seeds and chilli. Cover the lot with a square of greaseproof paper and seal the tray with tin foil. Put the tray in the oven for 1 hour then turn the oven down to 150°C (normal) | 130°C (fan) | gas mark 2 for a further 4 hours.
When ready, remove the lamb from the oven and gently pull the bones out. If they don’t remove easily, cook the lamb for a further hour or so until its ready. Discard the vegetables and strain the remaining stock through a sieve into a pan. Place the stock over medium heat and reduce by two-thirds, then pour it back over the lamb.
Put a glug of olive oil into a large frying pan and put on medium heat. Gently fry the breadcrumbs until golden brown, stirring regularly. Add the garlic into the pan – mixing in well and fry for 30 seconds. Next, add the parsley and a pinch of chilli before mixing well again for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and put onto kitchen paper over a bowl to soak up any excess oil. Leave at room temperature to dry. Now make the salsa verde by chopping all the ingredients, putting them into a bowl, and covering with olive oil. Set aside until ready to serve.
Crank up the oven to 200°C (normal) | 180°C (fan) | gas mark 6.
Peel the salsify and put the sticks into cold water along with the juice of a lemon to stop them from discolouring. Then, put the salsify in a pot and cover with fresh cold water and a good handful of salt. Bring the pot to the boil and cook for 20 minutes or until the salsify is soft. Remove the salsify sticks from the water and slice them lengthways. If the sticks are very long you may want to cut them in half so that they fit on the plate. Melt the butter in a roasting tray and place the salsify into the butter cut side down, and then into the oven for 15 minutes, allowing them to brown.
Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard over the lamb and then coat in the breadcrumbs. When you’ve taken the salsify out of the oven, put the lamb back in and allow it to come up to temperature (around 5-10 minutes). When hot, lift the lamb onto a large serving platter with a big plum of watercress underneath and around the sides. Pour the remaining juices over the lamb. Season and dress the salsify in the salsa verde and arrange the spears next to the lamb. Serve down the centre of the table.
Thyme includes 32 bedrooms situated throughout the Georgian rectory, The Lodge, The Tallet and the buildings around the courtyard and gardens. Ox Barn (seats 62) offers a wonderful dining experience, with its own twist on seasonal British food.
Thyme also offers the Baa bar, meadow spa, pool, orchid house and botanical bothy. The piggery and balcony room boutiques stock Bertioli by Thyme's range of silkwear, tableware and bespoke homeware.
If that's not enough, their 'village within a village' also contains a cookery school, floristry and drawing classes, farm, kitchen gardens, orchards and water meadows. Cottages are available for private hire and you can also book the Tithe Barn for private events.
Thyme’s room rates currently start at £335 (midweek) / £395 (Fri, Sat) per night. These are room rates include breakfast.
Thyme, Southrop Manor Estate, Southrop, Gloucestershire, GL7 3PW