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a glass of cockburns lbv port

One of the oddest pairings I’ve sampled recently – roast lamb and late bottled port.

The lamb was cooked at a very low temperature for neigh-on 18 hours. This certainly results in a deeply juicy joint of meat so it was a fine choice indeed to accompany with a
cannelloni bean mash laced with water cress and fresh spinach.

The next sentence is going to be contrary. The match – lamb and Cockburn’s Port – was surprisingly lovely and beautifully paired only it was too rich and decadent! I loved it but drinking more than a glass or two could became a little too overwhelming for some. All down to the ports 20% alcohol.

The recipe was designed by chef Steve Bulmer as an Easter Day special. Even I know that roasting a leg of lamb for 18 hours isn’t a standard way of preparing a Sunday roast but if you can’t do something really special for Easter…

“This Easter, impress your guests with an extra special slow-cooked lamb dish matched with a glass of rich Cockburn’s Late Bottled Vintage 2004. The recipe for this tender, 18 hour slow-cooked lamb was created by Steve Bulmer, head chef at Brook Hall Cookery School and inspired by the UK’s favourite port.
This melt-in-the-mouth lamb is satisfyingly rich, and virtually cooks itself, making it the perfect dish for Easter Sunday lunch. Pairing it with Cockburn’s Late Bottled Vintage 2004, a full and fruity port, will really complement the sumptuous nature of the lamb. The port’s hints of cherry and dark chocolate on the palate will further enhance the depth of the dish, whilst its complex character will leave your taste buds tingling.”

Cockburn’s Late Bottled Vintage 2004 is widely available, 75cl, RRP £11.22.

Cockburn’s have the recipe and a video on their site (direct link to load video here) describing the cooking of this lamb dish. The recipe is below if you wish to try it out.

18 Hour Slow Roast Lamb
Serving suggestion: Cockburn’s Late Bottled Vintage
Ingredients – serves 6

  • 2kg Lamb shoulder, skin scored (1 x whole or 2 x 1kg halves will serve 4)
  • 2 Onions, sliced in half, or 4 shallots
  • 1 bulb Garlic, cut in half
  • 8 pinches Malden sea salt
  • 4 pinches Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 leaves Sage, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves , chopped
  • 100ml Olive oil
  • 30g Butter, unsalted, softened
  • 500ml Water
  • Rosemary, freshly chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 85ºC (or use the simmering oven on an Aga)
In a large, heavy-duty roasting pan, on a medium heat, colour the lamb in the oil for 10 minutes. Then place the shoulder of lamb on top of the onions and garlic. Brush liberally with the softened butter, add the chopped garlic and herbs, then add 500ml of water to the pan and loosely cover with tin foil.
Place in the pre-heated oven at 85ºC and cook for 18 hours, until tender.
Once cooked, remove the meat to rest. To make gravy, remove some fat from the juices in the pan. Bring it to the boil, pass through a sieve, thicken with arrowroot if required and season. Add some freshly, chopped rosemary for flavour.
Chef’s Note:
Ensure that the shoulder is out of the fridge for 1 hour to allow the meat to reach room temperature before cooking.
Adding water will prevent the lamb from burning during cooking, keep it moist and makes a gravy base at the same time.


  1. Supermarket LBV is now most definitely off my Christmas Card list.
    Its still a wonderful drink, but the tasting note I prepared when it was served for my WSET advanced tasting paper bore absolutely no relationship to the beverage in the glass…

  2. no? why on earth not… you tasted it blind? do tell what you thought it was then!

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