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Monday, 22 April 2013

Shoulder of lamb with cumin and yoghurt

When I go to the butchers shop,  I always hope there is a long queue in front of me, to give me time for a good look round and decide what to cook.  I hate it when confronted with a smiley "What can I get you?" two seconds after I get in the door.  Relax, let me enjoy myself for a few moments, planning the weekend meals.  Shoulder of lamb is a cheaper cut than leg and good for low and slow cooking.  Plan on 3 to 4  hours in the oven, a lazy way to spend a Sunday, as it takes little of no attention, and gives you the perfect excuse to do nothing.

I loved the look of this Paul Flynn recipe as soon as it popped up on my google search.

Paul always adds a few ingredients that make you say "Really?  That's one I would not thought of!"  This time it was feta in the dressing and orange peel on the lamb skin.  But hey ho!  I have given up questioning his recipes and now do as I am told!  So off I started at 3 o clock one Sunday afternoon, hoping to present something like this:

So I started with considerably more than 3lbs of shoulder, but i did the incisions of garlic as he said and rubbed it all over with ground cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Here it is ready for the first 3 hours in the oven, rosemary sprigs on top as described.

It gets 3 hours under foil, before you remove the foil and add the vegetables.  Now, I was going to add potatoes at this stage, cut into pieces the same size as the vegetables but when I saw the amount of veg in the recipe, I knew that there was no room for anything extra in the tray too.  Couscous at the ready!

All organized for the home straight now, honey to glaze the skin, orange peel to grate over it  and a glass of wine for the chef!  So the veg went in around the meat, and I turned the oven up a little from 160 to 175 to cook the veg and crisp and caramelize the skin.    For the yoghurt dressing it was only a matter of whizzing everything up in the food processor or with a hand wand.  I though it tasted a little sweet, because of the addition of the mint jelly, so I sprinkled it with some more ground cumin and added more salt.  

I made the couscous without the lemon syrup, by adding equal amounts of couscous and boiling water together and allowing it to soak while covered.  When all the water was absorbed, I added olive oil, lemon juice, lemon rind and a healthy dose of chopped mixed herbs (mint, parsley and chives ) with some salt and pepper.  

Mine looked like this

Ok, a bit generous on the yoghurt, but not unlike the first picture methinks!  It was delicious, the combinations of all the flavours, sweet lamb, sticky skin, herby couscous and refreshing yoghurt, too good to be true!  AND piles of leftovers to stuff into Lebanese flatbreads for dinner tonight - result!

PS I am a little bit in love with Paul Flynn xx

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