Shakespeare was not a man unfamiliar with a feast. “Eight wild boars roasted whole at breakfast, but twelve persons there,” he wrote in Antony and Cleopatra, describing a bountiful and convivial scene.
While that may be a bit excessive by today’s standards, there is nothing better than laying on an almighty spread for family, friends and loved ones — exactly the kind of thing we do day in, day out at Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe.
With that in mind, our Executive Chef Allan Pickett has put together a couple of recipes based on his menus at the restaurant for you to cook at home. Either try them individually or prepare as a main course and dessert for a stunning summer feast.
All recipes serve four, but can be scaled up or down as required.
Main course: Hay-baked shoulder of Sussex lamb with slow cooked onions and wild thyme sauce
1 2.5kg spring lamb shoulder (ask your butcher to tunnel bone it, which means that he will leave the shoulder intact)
1 sprig of rosemary
3 cloves of garlic
1 kg of clean sterilized hay (the easiest way to do that is to pour boiling water over it and leave to soak for 5 minutes)
1 roll of butcher’s twine
For the accompaniments
500g baby new potatoes
24 small round onions
2 sprigs of wild thyme
2 bulbs of garlic
100g duck fat (or goose fat)
50ml olive oil
For the sauce
500ml good quality chicken stock
200ml red wine
- Make a paste with the 3 garlic cloves and the rosemary either by hand with a large knife or in a small blender. Rub this paste into your lamb 2-3 hours before you cook it, or overnight. Tie the lamb across ways about 6-8 times to hold it into a set shape.
- Seal the meat by searing the surface all over until golden brown, in a pan with a little hot oil.
- Place the washed and drained hay into a large roasting pan, making a nest to place the lamb on, and cover with more hay. Cover with a piece of foil and bake in the oven for an hour and a half at 130°C or until the temperature reaches 60°C in the centre.
- Remove the strings and leave to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place to allow the juices and temperature to even out through the shoulder.
For the garnish
- Peel the onions and break down the garlic into cloves
- Tear off a large piece of foil and place it into a shallow pan, add the cloves of garlic, onions, baby new potatoes and half of the thyme sprigs.
- Scrunch up the foil to form a parcel and cook in the same oven as the lamb for 45 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from oven and drain off the duck fat which can be saved and reused.
For the sauce
- Bring the red wine to a simmer and reduce until thick and sticky
- Add the stock along with the remaining thyme and remove from the heat
- Cover the pan with cling film until needed
Allan’s tip: The hay imparts a lovely flavour and keeps the lamb moist as well. I normally serve this dish in the centre of the table so my guests can see it with the hay for added effect.
Dessert: Set buttermilk cream with poached Kentish strawberries
Set buttermilk cream
400ml double cream
1 vanilla pod or 1tsp of vanilla essence
4 leaves of bronze gelatine, soaked
½ bunch of mint
16 good sized strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 cardamom pod
1 vanilla pod
- Pour the cream and milk into a pan, add the sugar and vanilla and bring to the boil on a gentle heat.
- Add the soaked gelatine, stir to dissolve and immediately remove from heat
- Pass the liquid through a fine sieve to remove any lumps and leave to cool for half an hour until almost set before pouring into your dishes, then place in the fridge for 5-6 hours
For the strawberries
- Place the sugar, water, cardamom and vanilla in a pan and bring to the boil
- Add the halved strawberries and then instantly remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly
- Remove the strawberries from the liquid and set aside
- Heat the liquid and bring to the boil, cooking until reduced by about half so it is thick and sticky
- Remove the set creams from their moulds and place one into each serving bowl
- Divide the poached strawberries between the bowls and drizzle over a little of the reduced liquid