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Braised Mount Errigal Lamb in Poitin and Buttermilk Bread

1 shoulder of spring lamb, boned and trimmed
2 tablespoons oil
Mixture of sliced onion, carrot & celery for flavouring, blanched
About 250 ml (1/2 pint) lamb stock, or as required
1/2 miniature bottle whiskey
10 finely sliced smoked streaky rashers, rindless
Buttermilk dough
225 gm (8oz) strong white flour, sifted
1/2 level teaspoon salt
3.5 gm (1/2 sachet) easy-mix dried yeast
1 tablesp. (15ml) oil (optional)
50 ml (2 fl oz) boiling water
100 ml (4 fl oz) buttermilk

beaten egg mixed with water
poppy seeds and sesame seeds

Tie the lamb neatly with cotton kitchen string. Select a heavy
flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid just deep enough to
hold the joint. Heat, add the oil, then the lamb; turn to seal on
all sides, then remove. Lay the vegetable mixture in the casserole
to make a bed for the lamb, return the meat to the casserole and
add enough lamb stock to come about 2/3rds of the way up the meat
and the whiskey. Cover and cook gently on the hob or in a very
moderate oven, 325 degrees F/160 degrees C/Gas mark 3 for about 2
hours, until tender. Remove the lamb and set aside to cool. Allow
the cooking liquor to stand for 10 minutes, then skim off the fat.
Strain, boil to reduce by half; season and set aside. When the lamb
has cooled, remove the string and wrap the meat in fine streaky
rashers. Meanwhile preheat a fairly hot oven, 400 degrees F/200
degrees C/Gas mark 6 (fan oven 165 degrees C) and prepare the bread
dough. Thouroughly mix flour, salt and yeast. Blend the oil, if
using, with the water and buttermilk to make a tepid mixture. Add
to the dry ingredients, mix well and knead until a smooth elastic
dough is formed. (A little extra flour or liquid can be added if
required.) Roll the dough out to make a piece big enough to enfold
the meat; wrap the cooled meat in it, then set aside for 10-15
minutes on a lightly oiled roasting tin until the dough crust has
puffed up to about twice its previous thickness. Brush with eggwash
and sprinkle lightly with seeds. Put into the preheated oven (400
degrees F/200 degrees C/Gas mark 6/fan oven 160 degrees C). Cook
for 15 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C/gas mark
3/fan oven 150 degrees C and bake for a further 40 minutes, until
the bread is cooked and golden-brown and lamb has heated through.

Cut one quite thick slice per serving and lay on a bed of crunchy
spring vegetables (eg carrots and sprouting broccoli cooked lightly
and glazed with a little butter). Heat the reserved reduced cooking
liquor; pour some of it attractively over the meat and hand the
rest separately.


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