Bejewelled lamb


  • Serves 6 people

  • 3 kg boneless lamb shoulder
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 litres olive oil
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 1 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved widthways
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 80 gm (½ cup) pine nuts, lightly roasted
  • 80 gm (½ cup) currants, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, then drained
  • ½ bunch of mint, leaves picked, coarsely torn
  • Labne
  • 200 gm natural yoghurt
  • Parsnip cream
  • 40 gm butter
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled, core removed, finely sliced
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 200 gm sour cream
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • Roasted spice mix
  • 1 tbsp each of fennel seeds and coriander seeds, lightly roasted
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin kernels, lightly roasted
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds and caraway seeds, lightly roasted
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
01   Season lamb with sea salt and ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place in a large saucepan over low heat, cover with oil, add thyme, garlic and bay leaves, weight down lamb with a heavy plate and simmer gently until meltingly tender (5-6 hours). Cool.
02   Meanwhile, for labne, place yoghurt in a muslin-lined sieve placed over a small bowl and stand in the refrigerator to drain (about 2 hours). Transfer to a bowl and whisk in a little salt and white pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until required.
03   For parsnip cream, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add parsnip and sauté until tender (about 15 minutes). Add milk, simmer for 5 minutes, season to taste and cool to room temperature. Place in a blender and blend until smooth, add sour cream and blend again. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream. Keep warm.
04   For roasted spice mix, combine ingredients in a mortar and, using a pestle, coarsely grind, then season to taste and set aside.
05   Remove lamb from oil and coarsely shred. Smear a large tablespoon of parsnip cream on each plate, scatter over lamb, then spice mix. Place dollops of labne on and around lamb, scatter over pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, currants and mint, season with sea salt and serve.







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