Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with ras el hanout
Sometimes, the most simple of dishes are the most delicious. This dish can cook away all afternoon and fill your home with the most comforting of aromas. There is not much to do come serving time, as the meat will fall away from the bone and you can transfer it to a platter and add the herbs, nuts and dressing.
A whole shoulder is ideal for slow cooking, as it has plenty of connective tissue that needs time to break down but becomes super luscious and sticky once it does.
This is love on a platter.
1 x 2kg lamb shoulder, on the bone
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 heaped teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons ras el hanout
2 red onions, sliced
½ bunch fresh thyme
250ml white wine
150ml red wine vinegar
1 garlic bulb, unpeeled and quartered
6 good quality anchovy fillets, in oil
3 lemons, rolled and then cut in half
Freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup natural almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup mint leaves, torn
½ pomegranate, seeds removed
60ml olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons harissa
Sea salt flakes and black pepper to season
For the harissa dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and allow to stand at room temperature for at least half an hour to let the flavours really develop. Give a light mix again just before serving.
Preheat oven to 140°C. Using a small sharp knife, cut three or four slits diagonally across the lamb. Combine the olive oil, salt and ras el hanout in a bowl. Rub this mixture into the lamb, massaging well and down into the slits, to cover entirely. Cover and place in fridge to marinate overnight.
Take the lamb out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you start cooking so that it is as close to room temperature as possible. Place a large frying pan (large enough to hold the lamb shoulder) on a medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides; it will take about 10 minutes to get a good colour all over. Transfer the lamb to a large plate.
Place the sliced onions and thyme on the base of a large roasting dish and place the lamb on top.
Tip off any fat from the base of your frying pan and place the pan on a low heat. Pour in the wine and let it bubble and reduce for 2 minutes. Pour the warm wine over the lamb.
Pour the vinegar around the lamb and add the garlic, anchovies and lemons. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and cover tightly with foil and bake on the middle shelf for 5 hours. Check every so often to ensure the onions are not burning and to baste the lamb.
Remove the foil after 5 hours and cook, uncovered, for the last 40 minutes. When ready, the meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Gently shred the meat into large pieces and use the roasting juices to moisten the meat.
You could serve the lamb as it is now without the dressing and it would be lip-smackingly lovely, or if you want to turn it into something very special, place on a platter and scatter with almonds, herbs and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the harissa dressing and dot with marinated goat’s cheese or labne. I love to serve this with white beans and freekah and a lovely big bowl of salad greens.
This recipe is from the Relish Mama cookbook by Nellie Kerrison.
One enormous than you to Tamara Erbacher for the beautiful image and Lucienne Hemingway for the styling. x