It was three degrees here this morning and I’m a summer person. So the last thing I felt like doing at 8am was heading out to the farmer’s market. Yet what is more appealing in cold weather than food? Hearty, warming comfort food. Does one stay home in the warm, or venture out and procure the good stuff?

Food won. So I stood in line, my feet freezing in the long wet grass, despite two pairs of socks, lusting in my heart after roast beef and mustard sausages and hogget shoulder. And lambs brains. My dirty little love.

Whilst I really didn’t need the hogget shoulder, I hadn’t decided on tonight’s dinner and the vision of the shoulder slowly roasting, falling off the bone and nestling amongst piles of vegetables and lentils, drove me to uncharacteristic splurging. I had lunch with some girlfriends last weekend and one of them mentioned that as self comfort for her recent divorce, she bought eight pairs of shoes and a cocktail dress. Now I know I need no such solace as my life is unruffled and happy but I’ve had my times of grief. Multiple shoe purchases have never been my source of comfort. A dozen oysters, a kilo of prawns, a shoulder of hogget. That is the type of retail therapy that gives me solace.

Naturally, a feast of these proportions demands dessert. Particularly when I picked up a gorgeous bunch of rhubarb for $3. I can’t wait until my own has grown enough to pick. So I had a prowl around at one of my favourite recipe finding places and decided that ‘tarte tatin avec rhubarb‘ would be a fitting accompaniment (see below for pictures).

Citrus Braised Hoggett Shoulder
With a shoulder this size, if you doubled the amount of vegetables and dessert, you could feed this to a party of 12. Great for cheap winter en masse entertaining.
4.3kg hogget shoulder
1 cup water
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 orange, peeled and quartered
1 lime, peeled
1 mandarin, peeled
1cm piece ginger, peeled
1 – 2 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons Murray river salt flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Place shoulder in baking tray and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, throw everything else in thermomix (or food processor) and blend until pureed (5 – 10 seconds on speed 8 in thermomix)
  4. After 30 minutes roasting, remove hogget from oven, pour water down sides of baking dish and smear puree over top. Reduce oven to 170 degrees. Cover tightly with foil and braise for about 6 hours until meat is falling off the bones.
  5. Serve on top of French lentils and winter root vegetables (see below)

French Lentils and Winter Root Vegetables
this makes a massive amount but as I had a massive amount of meat I figured I’d have enough of both to freeze as future meals; soup bases, casseroles, toasted wraps etc. Conventional cooks will need to grate or finely dice the vegetables to make this, otherwise instructions are the same for thermomix and conventional
1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
375g French lentils
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice

  1. Place lentils in very large saucepan, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, place all vegetables in thermomix and chop for 10 seconds on speed 5, using spatula to ensure all vegetables are cut until it resembles coleslaw                          
  3. Add chopped vegetables to lentils and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  4. Drain and dress in combined oil and lemon juice

Approx. cost per serving

hogget – $2.50

lentils and vegetables – 68c

tarte tatin avec rhubarb – 62c