2 shoulders of baby lamb
24 button onions
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 chilli, cut in half lengthways, seeds removed
3 plumb tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
Generous pinch of saffron strands
200ml fresh orange juice
500ml chicken stock
Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Take a flameproof casserole with plenty of room to hold the two shoulders laid flat, place over a high heat and add a generous amount of olive oil. Brown the lamb well on both sides.
Lower the heat to moderate and add the peeled button onions and a little sea salt; shake the pan from time to time so that the onions start to get a good colour. After about 5 minutes add the garlic, cumin seeds, chilli and tomatoes, stir well and increase the heat to high. Poor in the Madeira and the saffron, and when they come to the boil add the orange juice and chicken stock. Bring back to the boil, then partially cover the pan and place in the oven for 1 hour. Stir and turn the meat occasionally.
Leave to cool completely, then remove the lamb and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, cut the shoulder into 3 joints.
To serve: Reheat the meat in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil until caramelized. Remove the chilli from the sauce, then reheat the sauce until piping hot. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with couscous.
Bresse is a region in France near Lyon, famous for it's poultry. The flavour and texture of these birds is unique and commands a high price. If you cannot find Bresse pigeons, make sure you choose the best quality young birds.
Heat the oven to 230ºC / 440ºF / gas 8. Season inside the pigeons, then smear the pigeons with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in a hot roasting pan over a high heat and brown the birds all over. Turn them onto their backs and roast in the oven for 12 minutes; the meat should be rosy pink. Remove from the oven, turn them breast side down so the juices permeate the breast meat, cover with kitchen foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes before serving.
Peel and trim the baby onions. Peel and cut the carrots into 3cm long batons. Cook the onions, carrot batons and peas in boiling slated water until just tender. Refresh in ice-cold water; drain well.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a wide saucepan. When it foams, add the bacon and cook until beginning to brown. Add the onions and cook for a further 3 minutes, rolling them around the pan from time to time. Then add the peas, carrots and chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season well, then add the butter little at a time, shaking the pan so the butter emulsifies and thickens the sauce. Just before serving, fold in the shredded lettuce leaves. Serve with the pigeons.