Merry Christmas! It’s been such an amazing year here at Quirky Cooking. The release of our new cookbook Life-Changing Food has given us so much to be grateful for. We’ve travelled all around Australia and met with thousands of people on the whole food journey. The real food movement is growing rapidly and we couldn’t be happier. Seeing people change their diets to eliminate highly refined ingredients, preservatives and additives is wonderful. At this time in our history, one of the biggest issues we face is that of chronic illness caused by poor food education. The ramifications of this issue are huge, and tightly linked to environmental sustainability and preservation. Voices all across the country are louder than ever, calling for a change in the system. While this is slowly gaining momentum towards a true tipping point, we find that grass-roots change – the everyday decisions that we make at home – is the most powerful place to start. This is why Quirky Cooking exists: to support this growing community to make the transition to real, healthy, nutritious food as simple as possible. We anticipate 2018 to bring on greater positive change as the need for healing increases. We look forward to a future where this simple knowledge we share is mainstream, and we thank you for being part of this change.
And so, in line with our philosophy to make healthy eating easy, we want to help make this Christmas a super easy whole food triumph. The recipe for this slow-cooked lamb shoulder comes from our cookbook, Life-Changing Food. We have also shared some great ideas in our previous post on the various recipes we recommend you make for the holidays. Make sure to check that out, too.
We used to serve a more complicated version of this recipe at my restaurant, Baraka. The incredibly popular dish was made by cooking the lamb in a master stock braise with burnt garlic and onions. At home, I use the recipe below, as it involves very little preparation time. If you don’t own a slow-cooker, I highly recommend getting one. They are cheaper than a good frying pan and very energy efficient. They are also very useful for turning cheaper cuts of meat into brilliantly tender and delicious meals with very little effort. This lamb shoulder recipe is at the heart of many meals at the Kassab household. We turn it into a spiced-rice pilaf on occasions of celebration (see photo below), or eat it with braised cabbage at breakfast for a low-carbohydrate meal. It is also an amazing dish to prepare ahead for a barbecue. I cook it two days before and keep it in the fridge, then on the day, I cook it with the skin side down in a hooded barbeque until the skin crackles. Then I turn it around and take the heat all the way down to warm it all the way through.
- 2.2-2.5kg lamb shoulder, preferably bone-in
- 1 Tbsp salt, plus extra to taste
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup light red wine, such as Pinot Noir
- 125g butter, cut into cubes
- Place lamb in slow cooker along with water and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours. (Alternatively, if you wish to cook this in an oven, place lamb in roasting tin along with water and salt, cover tin with foil and cook at 110°C for 8-10 hours.)
- Carefully remove lamb from cooking juices, making sure to reserve juices for red wine sauce.The lamb should be very tender. (To keep lamb hot before serving, place in a warm oven - 80°C - covered with foil.)
- Transfer reserved cooking juices into a glass container. The juice will separate, with fat rising to the surface and stock beneath. Carefully skim the fat from the top and transfer it to another bowl.
- Add 3 cups of stock and the red wine to a medium frying pan or saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes until it reduces and becomes a thick, rich sauce.
- Remove saucepan from the heat and add the butter, one cube at a time, incorporating using a whisk until glossy and velvety. Add salt to taste, reheat, and serve with lamb.
- If you prefer, you can omit the red wine sauce and keep the stock and fat for other cooking. Once cooked, sieve the juices into a bowl and leave to cool then refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. You will then be able to separate the fat from the stock and use both in your cooking. We freeze excess fat and stock in our home and add directly into dishes that require either.
- We also love turning this lamb shoulder into an opulent pilaf. Cook the rice with Lebanese seven spices, butter, lemon juice and lamb stock. Pull the lamb and toss it through the rice. Serve on a large platter with a sauce made with tahini and lemon juice, then sprinkle with toasted nuts (see photo below).
Slow-cooked lamb shoulder can be used in a variety of ways, from adding it warm to salads to this beautiful spiced rice pilaf!