I love lamb. I could harp on endlessly about all the fantastic ways I love to eat the stuff. Grilled, roasted, fried, barbequed... everything from neck fillets to lovely leg; it is all delicious and versatile. But economising (as we all should be doing) I look to the cheaper cuts of meat, which is treated properly and cooked correctly can deliver an abundence of flavour as well as feed the masses in a beyond enjoyable fashion.
Shoulder of lamb is often over-looked by many because it looks awkward, is quite fatty and requires a long cooking time... all of which is true... but the fat is almost completely rendered throughout the cooking process and the slow cooking just ensures that the meat falls of the bone. Every bite is tender, juicy and mouthwateringly succulent and you can use robust flavours and spices to flavour the meat.
Sumac is a popular Persian spice, scarlet in colour and famed for it's sharp, almost citrusy finish. We sprinkle it on grilled meat as well as rice and salads and you can find it at most supermarkets, although the best and most fresh Sumac will always be found at Persian or Middle Eastern supermarkets. The sharp flavour of the Sumac cuts beautifully through the rich lamb meat, making the perfect pairing. Here's how to do it:
Persian Sumac-Crusted Shoulder of Lamb
2.5-3kg shoulder of lamb
2 heaped tablespoons of Sumac
Maldon Sea Salt
A little oil
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (190 if fan assisted) and place the lamb shoulder in to your chosen oven dish/tray. Drizzle a little oil onto the lamb (just enough to make the Sumac stick) and sprinkle your Sumac over the lamb, rubbing the Sumac into every nook and cranny before seasoning generous with Maldon sea salt and placing in the oven. After 15 minutes, turn the heat right down to 160 (or 150 fan assisted) and cook the lamb for about 4 hours straight. Remove the lamb from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 8 minutes before serving. You can literally take a fork and gently pull the lamb apart or be all fancy (and rather unecessary) and use a knife to slice it. Serve with a nice salad or even better a side of rice or cous-cous... And even better, my classic Persian side dish of caramelised onions, sauteed aubergines and whey. (CLICK HERE)