I like to trot this out when I have friends come for lunch, especially my kiwi friends who have a special appreciation for lamb. This lamb is delicious, it has come together over a couple of years and a few incarnations but its pretty much perfect now, lamb shoulder is the only thing I'll have a bar of roasting, no legs for me, its all about the slow roasted shoulder.
The salad is fresh and cuts through the richness of the lamb and the labne is just a wonderful thing to behold. Try this next time you have pals coming for lunch, make the effort to pop it into the oven whilst still in your pjs and they will walk into your home and be greeted by the delicous smell of this persian lamb slow roasting, it smells almost as good as it tastes.
2.5kg lamb shoulder
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
6 x cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 bunch coriander, chopped finely
2 long red chillis, sliced
1 cup hot chicken stock
1 cup cous cous
2 lebanese cucumbers, deseeded and chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
tin of chickpeas
bunch of mint, leaves picked
handful toasted pinenuts
danish fetta, crumbled
250g full fat greek yoghurt
pinch of sea salt
1/2 clove garlic grated
pita breads and lemon wedges to serveOk so lets start the day before, combine all the marinade ingredients minus the salt and pepper, score the fat on the shoulder and rub in the marinade ingredients, rub it all over, pop it into a glass or ceramic dish, cover with glad wrap and pop into the fridge for 24 hours.
For the labne scoop the yoghurt into a piece of muslin or a chux cloth and rest it in a sieve over a bowl, pop that in your fridge too and let all the whey drain from the yoghurt overnight.
Preheat your oven to its highest temperature, transfer the lamb to a baking dish along with its marinade, season generously with salt and pepper, add 100mls of water to the pan and cover with a double layer of tin foil, seal tightly. Put it into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 170, leave it alone for 4 hours, by then it should be meltingly tender in which case remove the foil and increase the oven temp to 220 and cook until it is sizzling and bronzed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven re-cover loosely with the foil and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Once the yoghurt has drained, you have labne! pop the labne into a serving bowl, stir through the seasalt and garlic, drizzle with your best quality olive oil and a light dusting of paprika to make it look pretty.
Now lets make the cous cous salad, pour your cous cous into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper stir to coat then add the cup of hot chicken stock, cover with glad wrap and put aside for five minutes.
Use a fork to fluff it up and then tip it out onto a large platter. Add to that the rinsed chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, toasted pine nuts, mint leaves, pomegranate seeds and crumbled fetta along with a good drizzle of your best olive oil along with the zest and juice of a lemon, and a generous seasoning of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, toss gently and that's that.
Serve alongside some warmed pitas and lemon wedges.
* some pickled vegies would be nice too, like the ones you get at turkish restaurants.