FORK-APART SLOW-ROASTED LAMB SHOULDER WITH RICE PILAF
This lamb! Prepare to swoon. I love an easy roast that I can pop in the oven and forget about for hours. This lamb shoulder is the perfect candidate – it loves being left alone all day to become melting tender, so tender that you can pull it apart with a fork.
I’m always looking for ways to tie different elements of a dish together. With this recipe, we steal some of the juices from the lamb and massage them into the rice. It’s a little bit naughty but oh so very nice.
We also use sumac, a dried berry spice, in two ways: it’s part of the the Middle-Eastern lamb rub and it’s tossed through the rice, lending its lemony brightness to both. If you don’t have sumac, don’t worry! The lemon in both parts of the recipe will take care of the bright citrus notes. You could even squeeze a little extra lemon juice over the dish just before serving.
This recipe uses a Thermomix.
1 X 2 kg approx. lamb shoulder (see Tips)
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp flaked salt
6 cloves garlic
2 pieces preserved lemon or zest of 1 lemon, in strips
1 tbsp sumac, optional (see Tips)
30 grams olive oil
2 lemons, sliced
120 grams dried figs
300 grams long-grain rice
1/2 cup lamb juices, from lamb roast
handful mint, chopped
handful parsley, chopped
lemon zest, finely grated
1 tbsp sumac, optional
For the lamb…
1. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Place pepper, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and salt in mixing bowl and chop 20 sec/speed 9.
2. Add garlic and preserved lemon and chop 5 sec/speed 5.
3. Add sumac and olive oil and stir 10 sec/speed 3.
4. Make small cuts in lamb and rub marinade into lamb shoulder on both sides. Place lemon slices in base of roasting dish and put lamb shoulder on top. Add 1 cup water, cover with foil and place in oven. Turn oven down to 160°C (320°F) and cook 2 hours.
5. Pour off 1/2 cup lamb juices and reserve. Add 1 cup water to the roasting dish and cook for a further 2 hours, covered with foil.
6. Soak figs in water for at least 30 minutes, then drain them and roughly tear them.
7. Add figs to roasting dish, remove the foil to crisp the top a little bit, and turn oven up to 180°C (350°F). Roast for a further 30 minutes while cooking the rice. Lamb is ready when it can be pulled apart with a fork. If lamb is ready before rice is cooked, turn oven off, cover roasting dish with foil and let it sit.
For the Rice Pilaf…
8. Place water in mixing bowl and rice in steamer basket. Wash rice 10 sec/speed 5.
9. Pour lamb juices over rice. Cook 20 min/Varoma/speed 4.
10. When rice is cooked, remove from steamer basket to a bowl and toss with chopped mint, parsley, lemon zest, sumac and salt, to taste.
To serve, transfer lamb and figs to a platter and serve with rice.
It’s okay to use a lamb shoulder with bone in or deboned.
The oven times are a good guideline but you’ll know the lamb is ready when it can be pulled apart with a fork.
If you don’t have sumac, squeeze a little lemon juice over the lamb and rice before serving. Sumac is a dried berry that’s crushed to create a tangy spice. You can find it in some supermarkets, nut shops and wholefood stores.
Dani is a writer, eater, traveller and cook and she loves to show people how to cook with a Thermomix. You can follow her on Instagram @danivalent
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