Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with baked ricotta and green olives

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp each coarsely chopped mint, thyme and oregano
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • Finely grated rind of 3 lemons plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, bone in
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 2 baby fennel bulbs, halved, shaved on a mandolin and placed in iced acidulated water
  •  
  • Baked ricotta
  • 400 gm wedge of firm ricotta
  • 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp thyme sprigs
  • ¼ tsp each dried chilli flakes and dried mint
  •  
  • Warm olive dressing
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  • 1½ tbsp (firmly packed) oregano
  • 100 gm large green olives, pitted
01   Pound garlic and 1 tsp sea salt in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Add herbs and two-thirds of the lemon rind, pound to a paste, stir in lemon juice and oil and season to taste. Place lamb in a non-reactive container, pour over marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
02   Preheat oven to 150C. Drain marinade from lamb (discard), place lamb in a roasting pan, add wine, cover with foil and roast, topping up occasionally with water if necessary, until lamb is very tender and falling from bone (6-7 hours). Remove from oven, keep warm.
03   For baked ricotta, increase oven to 220C. Place ricotta on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with oil, scatter with remaining ingredients, season to taste and bake until firm and browned (15-20 minutes). Cool slightly, coarsely crumble and set aside.
04   Meanwhile, for warm olive dressing, heat oil, garlic, lemon rind and oregano in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is just golden (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, add olives and lemon juice, season to taste and set aside.
05   To serve, coarsely shred lamb (discard bone and sinew), arrange on a platter, scatter with baked ricotta. Drain fennel, scatter over lamb, spoon on warm olive dressing and serve warm.
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