Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pomegranate and maple slow cooked lamb shoulder

Pomegranate and spiced maple slow-roasted lamb shoulder with burghul and olive salad

I’d like to be upfront. This recipe involves meat in a bag. The old oven bag seemed to fall off the radar – something your grandma would do – or Jamie Oliver circa 1992. But you know what, the process rocks. And it helps achieve achingly soft meat that falls from the bone every time. A friend reintroduced the oven bag to me recently and so here it is, in all its’ slow cooking glory, housing one seriously tasty lamb dish that is spicy, tangy and a touch sweet all at once. It is the sort of lamb that will shake up your Sunday roast, so much so you may never go traditional again. The richness of the meat is great with the salty bite of the olive and burghul salad, all of which is tempered by a dollop of thick yoghurt. Yep, delicious. Oh I almost forgot the best bit - the leftovers (should you have any) are pretty magic as lunch the next day.

All you need is lamb. A bit of time with your oven on. And one oven bag.

Serves 6-8

1 x 1.7kg (approx.) lamb shoulder, bone in at room temperature
2 tbsp each cumin, coriander, fennel seeds
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 tbsp good quality maple syrup (I use an oak aged bourbon maple)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper to season
1 large oven bag
3-4 tbsp greek style yoghurt to serve (optional)

400g coarse burghul rinsed and drained
1 ½ - 2 cups chicken stock
1 cup good quality, Sicilian green olives, seeded
1 red onion, peeled, finely sliced
½ cup each finely chopped mint, coriander, flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp dried cranberries
3 tbsp currants
Seeds of ½ a fresh pomegranate
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sumac

Preheat oven to 160C. Coarsely crush cumin, coriander and seeds with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb inside the oven bag and pour in the marinade ingredients. Seal and then using both hands ensure the mixture is coating the lamb. Place on a tray then bake in the oven for 5-6 hours.

To make the salad, add the chicken stock to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the burghul, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered for 10 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add to a bowl with the remaining salad ingredients and toss to combine. The salad is best made just before serving.

To serve, remove the lamb from the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before gently breaking the oven bag (be careful as it will be quite hot) and gently place the lamb on a serving tray, spooning over some of the lovely juices.
Serve with the burghul salad and yoghurt.

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