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Hopgood’s Slow Roast Lamb recipe

I love it when people like recommendations I make, especially when I encourage people to try a wine they wouldn’t normally drink.

Earlier this week I got an email from some friends we gave a bottle of Riesling to at Christmas. When  we offered them a bottle from the little supply we have at the office Lorraine asked for something I could recommend and she said she would trust me. Some people are more than a little brave when they say that to me because I’m likely to give them a wine that will challenge them just a little.

Anyway, Ed and Lorraine live on a farm and have family staying in a cottage on the farm during lockdown and Lorraine sent me this as an email:

“Tonight we were enjoying a family gathering around the fire (Mason and family have their bubble at the cottage) and there was one of those gaps when the beer and Sav have been consumed but you feel like something special to end the night!

“Earlier in the day I had made an apple pie. Not just a regular pie you must understand, but apples from an old tree that probably was used in the last flu pandemic in 1918-19 and quince from a tree of the same vintage bound together with the most beautiful home-made pastry that I just know I will never re-create in my life.

“Your Riesling added the magic that will make this a night we will all remember so thank you, your selection was perfect.”

The wine in question was a Mt Difficulty Riesling with a little age so I’m not surprised it worked well with the apple pie and helped make a family lockdown dinner a memorable occasion.

This week Kevin Hopgood asked his Head Chef, Aaron Ballantyne to send me a recipe for you to make at home. As nights are getting a little cooler, and while we still have some time at home to take extra time to cook delicious food, he thought his slow cooked lamb would be easy for you to prepare at home.

Aaron says “it takes a bit of time but most of that is waiting while the lamb cooks, you just have to make sure you keep an eye on the liquid so it doesn’t dry out in the oven and to ensure you get a meltingly tasty lamb dish. While the lamb is cooking make the garlic breadcrumbs.”

Slow roast lamb, tomato, kale & white beans Serves 4-6 and takes 5-6 hours


  • 2.5 kg lamb shoulder or leg, bone-in
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 2 Rosemary sprigs
  • 1 spring oregano
  • 300ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock, or water
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and washed
  • 1 punnet of multicoloured cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cups, baby kale leaves washed
  • 1 bunch basil, chopped
  • Garlic breadcrumbs (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C. Season the lamb with salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a roasting tray, a large oven-proof casserole dish or similar. Add the seasoned lamb and sear thoroughly on all sides, until golden brown. Take out and set aside.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and herbs to the pan and lightly colour. Pour in the wine and stock then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, then return the lamb to the pan. Season again with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover tightly with a lid or tin foil, then place in the preheated oven and slow bake for about 5-6 hours, basting frequently until tender. (The pot must not dry out, so add a splash of water if necessary at any point to keep the lamb nice and moist.)
  5. When the lamb is tender, turn the oven temperature up to 180°C.
  6. Remove the dish or pan from the oven, then add the cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes, kale and basil to the saucepan.
  7. Sprinkle the garlic breadcrumbs over the lamb, then return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes until the lamb is golden brown and crispy. Serve.

Garlic Breadcrumbs (you can use these for many different dishes so it’s a great recipe to have)

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 slices day-old crusty bread, crust removed, chopped
  • ½ a lemon, zest only
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Pulse the garlic cloves in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add the bread and lemon zest and pulse until coarse crumbs form.
  3. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the breadcrumb mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl to cool.

Published in the Nelson Mail 29.04.20

I have been writing a regular wine column for The Nelson Mail newspaper since 2000.

Unfortunately the column space is not big enough to include my thoughts on all of the many wines I taste. Hopefully this blog will fix that. It also gives me somewhere to archive the many columns I write. I will also include some favourite recipes from my dearly beloved who loves cooking and of course because wine and food simply go together. I will also point you in the direction of upcoming events and websites I think are great. Enjoy, Neil

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