aromatic slow-roasted lamb with tzatziki
You may have noticed that I post about lamb a lot. It’s genuinely the meat that prevents me from becoming vegetarian, though I am definitely eating less meat these days. Slow-cooked aromatic lamb shoulder, fresh, garlicky herby tzatziki with plenty of herbs and a crunchy salad, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses is, for me, the perfect meal. If you’re a lamb-fan, I feel you need to try this recipe at least once in your life - but be prepared for it to replace every other lamb recipe in your repertoire! The lamb recipe itself is based on Sabrina Ghayour, from her book, 'Persiana'.
2.5kg (5lb 8oz) shoulder of lamb
3 heaped tbsp sumac
4 tbsp dried edible rose petals
1 heaped tbsp ground cumin
½ tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp crushed sea salt
Sometimes, I prepare the meat the night before, but it works well if you can't, too! It does make for an easy day of cooking if you do.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3.
Place the lamb shoulder in a roasting tin lined with nonstick baking paper.
Put the sumac, rose petals, cumin and cinnamon into a small food processor (I use the small processor attachment of my stick blender like this one) and process until the rose petals are finely ground but still visible.
Drizzle a little oil on to the lamb and rub it all over the joint to create a surface for your spice mix to stick to, then season generously with the sea salt.
Roast in the oven for 4 hours, basting once with any rendered fat from the pan, then remove the lamb, cover with kitchen foil and leave it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
You should be able to separate the meat from the bone with a fork. Transfer it to a serving plate, scatter a few pomegranate seeds and serve with tzatziki, salad and spiced potatoes or rice.
For the Tzatziki, mix 400g greek yoghurt with 1 cucumber, grated, 1 crushed garlic clove, a bunch of finely chopped mint, a wee bunch of finely chopped dill, some salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
My favourite salad to eat this with has spinach, pea shoots, mange tout, fennel, radish, green beans, red chicory, rainbow chard, tomatoes (pictured below). It's stunning to look at, too!