Moroccan-spiced lamb shoulder with onions and freekeh
- November 2019
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 40-50 min, oven time 4 hours 15 min
Alex Mackay‘s spiced roast ’n’ braise lamb shoulder recipe is truly spectacular and deserves its place on any dinner party table, or as a Sunday roast main.
In his own words: ” My roast ’n’ braise technique captures the flavour of a roast with the melting richness of a slow braise. I serve it with gravy-soaked freekeh and soft, savoury onions that get drunk on the lamb’s flavour and become as good as the meat itself.”
- Dairy-free recipes
- 25.9g (8.6g saturated)
- 48.3g (28.3g sugars)
- 2-2.2kg British lamb shoulder, on the bone
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g runny honey
- 6 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 40g fresh ginger, grated
- Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon, plus juice 1 lemon
- Finely grated zest and juice 2 oranges
- 2 tbsp ras el hanout spice mix
- 500g small onions, peeled and halved
- 150g raisins
- 750ml lamb or chicken stock
- 1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
- 500g cooked freekeh (I like Merchant Gourmet)
- 1-2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
- Small handful basil and/or mint
- 60g toasted almonds, chopped and tossed with salt and ras el hanout
- Rose petals to serve (optional)
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Put the lamb in a deep roasting tin and rub salt and oil all over it. Roast, skin-side up, for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3.
- Meanwhile, mix the honey, garlic, ginger, the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange, and 2 tsp ras el hanout in a small bowl.
- Transfer the lamb to a plate. Scatter the halved onions and raisins in the tin, pour over the rest of the orange juice, then season with salt and most of the remaining ras el hanout. Toss the onions to coat thoroughly with the seasonings, lamb fat and juice, then turn the onions cut-side down. Put the
lamb in the centre.
- Brush three quarters of the honey mixture over the lamb (do this with great gusto – really cover it). Reserve the rest to glaze the lamb later. Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil, sealing carefully around the edges. (If it’s not fully sealed or there’s a hole in the foil, heat will escape, the lamb will take longer and it won’t cook properly.) Braise for 3½ hours.
- While the lamb braises, put the stock, soy sauce and tomato purée in a medium saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by half (see tips), then remove from the heat.
- Once the lamb has braised, remove the foil. It should now be so tender that you can push a spoon right through it. Lift the lamb onto a plate. Drain half the cooking juices into the pan with the reduced stock (you’ll have about 500ml liquid in total).
- Add the cooked freekeh to the roasting tin and stir it into the onions and remaining cooking juices. Turn the oven back up to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Put the lamb back on top, glaze it with the remaining honey mixture, then put the tin back into the oven for 10 minutes. Baste and check twice, ensuring the glaze doesn’t burn.
- Bring the reduced stock and lamb juices to the boil and whisk in the cornflour mix. Bring back to the boil for 15 seconds, whisking constantly, until the gravy has thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt, ras el hanout and lemon juice.
- Before serving, brush the lamb with gravy to give it a glossy shine. Sprinkle the zest of the second orange and the chilli (optional), basil/mint and almonds on top. Serve at the table with tongs and a big spoon, and rose petals to scatter over, if you like. I squeeze a little extra lemon juice over the top, too.
When reducing liquids, it’s impossible to know exactly how much you’ve reduced by looking, so check the quantity in a measuring jug. That way you won’t be disappointed or run out of gravy.
The lamb loses a little of its lustre but can be prepared fully a day ahead and reheated. It can also be kept warm for at least 30 minutes without any loss of life and can be frozen for up to 3 months in separate portions of lamb, onions and gravy.
I like to add a touch of dark soy sauce to gravy, for colour and seasoning – not enough to taste it, but enough to avoid the dreaded beige gravy.
Spicy notes abound so crack open a Chilean carmenère or an Aussie shiraz. Both reds have peppery hints.
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