We had friends over on Sunday for lunch, but I also had to fit in a ride on Sunday morning. So what better time to do a slow cooked lamb shoulder. Got up at 530, put the lamb in the oven and took off for 4 hours. Uncomplicated, simple cooking that delivered an excellent result.
I chose the recipe from Maha. Maha is a restaurant is Melbourne run by Shane Delia serving Maltese/middle eastern food designed to share. Its a great little restaurant and like many in the Press Club group has spawned a cookbook, but in this case I am grateful for it. There is a good mix of recipes with a modern slant and traditional family cooking.
This recipe has 2 distinct parts, spice infusion and cooking. 4 500g pieces of lamb shoulder are called for so I bought a lamb shoulder from Jago meats in the Vic market and they quartered it for me. I then made a ras el hanout spice mix as per the cookbook and rubber 80g of it into the lamb and left to infuse overnight.
Next morning I sliced 3 onions and halved 2 garlic heads, combined and placed in bottom of a casserole. On top I placed the lamb and poured in 1.5l of chicken stock – enough to cover 3/4 of the lamb. Lid on and into a 100C oven for 5 hours. After 5 hrs, I removed the lid and increased temp to 120C and cooked for another 1 1/2 hrs. Then it was time to remove the meat, strain out the solids from the stock and return the meat to the casserole with 500ml of stock. The the casserole went back into a 220C oven for 40mins and I basted the lamb every 5 mins or so.
The result was very tender and tasty – not that you would know from the photo below. What appears as 4 chunks of charcoal was in fact very tender meat with a dark, sticky, almost crunchy coating. I served the lamb with an heirloom tomato salad and the meal was accompanied by a bottle of 1986 Chateau Tahbillk Cabernet Sauvignon which was absolutely singing. Thanks J&K!