Instead of mashed potato, the lamb ragout can be served with soft polenta. The ragout also makes a perfect pasta sauce when served with penne finished with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
1.5kg good-quality lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm dice
6 fresh bay leaves
tsp juniper berries
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500ml cabernet sauvignon
60ml olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
21/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp plain flour
2 cups marinade liquid (see above)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup passata
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine diced lamb with all marinade ingredients and marinate in the refrigerator for eight hours.
Remove lamb from the marinade, pass liquid through a fine sieve and reserve. Discard other ingredients.
Heat 40ml oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan on a high heat. Seal marinated lamb in batches until browned all over. Reserve meat to one side.
Add remaining oil and reduce heat to low. Cook onion and garlic until softened. Add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, then add the flour, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Slowly stir in reserved marinade liquid, blending constantly for a few minutes until there are no lumps. Stir through stock and passata. Transfer lamb and juices back into the pan, along with chopped carrot and celery. There should be enough liquid to cover the meat (add a little more of the reserved marinade if necessary).
Cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour until meat is tender and sauce has reduced. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with mashed potato.