Slow-Roasting lamb shoulder on the bone rewards you with the most deliciously succulent meat. Just be patient and make sure the lamb is meltingly tender before serving, if you can still feel tension in the meat, then it just needs a little longer in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan-forced or 180˚C conventional.
Place the onion in the base of a heavy ovenproof dish.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the cumin and peppercorns. Add the garlic and salt and grind to a paste. Add a good splash of oil and mix until a loose paste.
Smother the paste all over the lamb, rubbing between the cut bones as well. Place the lamb on top of the onions and scatter with the thyme leaves. Add the pear halves to the dish and sprinkle with the sugar and vinegar. Pour around 80 ml of water into the dish and cover with a double layer of foil. Roast for four hours, then remove the foil and skim some of the fat from the liquid in the dish. Raise the temperature to 180˚C fan-forced, baste the lamb and cook for another 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with braised silverbeet and couscous.
The olive oil pastry is based on Stephenie Alexander’s recipe for silverbeet and potato torte, but its silky texture is also perfect for these delicious pasties.
Preheat the oven to 165°C fan-forced or 185°C conventional.
For the pastry, in a food processor whiz the flour and salt. Drizzle in the oil while processing, followed by 250ml cold water. Keep processing until the dough comes together in a ball. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface, knead quickly, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
Drizzle a generous amount of oil over the carrot, parsnip, pumpkin and potato, season and toss to coat. Tip into a large baking dish and roast for 45-60 minutes, stir through twice during this time to evenly cook and colour. Once cooked the vegetables should have lost quite a lot of their mass and will have concentrated in flavour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray – this will help to preserve their shape.
Turn your oven up to 200°C fan-forced or 220°C conventional.
In a large pan over medium heat fry off the mince in a little oil until crisp and brown, season, drain off any excess oil and tip into a large bowl.
In a medium pot add a little oil and butter and the onion, garlic and leeks, sweat until softened, about ten minutes.
Add the leek mix, parsley, egg, peas and cheese to the lamb and combine. Gently mix through the cooled vegetables until you have an even mix, check the seasoning.
Cut the dough into 10 pieces and roll out into circles about 18cm in diameter. Divide your filling mix into ten. Brush the circles with egg, place filling in the centre of each circle and bring the edges together crimping the pasties closed as you go. Brush them with egg and sprinkle over the sesame seeds and bake on paper for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
I like to serve this braise with mograbieh, a giant style of couscous but you can also use regular couscous. Alternatively, serve it with my baked butter rice with walnuts and fetta.
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Splash a little of the oil in a large heavy pot over high heat and brown the lamb pieces for about 5 minutes, letting some of the fat render. Do the meat in batches, if necessary, rather than crowding the pot. Season generously.
Add the onion rings, garlic, bay leaves, chilli, thyme, peppercorns, cinnamon and cumin. Cook for 4 minutes then add the peeled lemon rind, tomato paste and wine and bring to a simmer.
Add the stock, bring back to a simmer, then add the silverbeet and the artichokes. Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Put the pot back on the stove and remove the lid. Reduce the sauce over medium high heat if desired. Check seasoning and squeeze in the lemon juice.
Bring a medium pot of water to the boil, add the mograbieh and boil for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and stir with a spoonful or two of the braised lamb juices.
Serve lamb with mograbieh and a big dollop of yoghurt
Combine yoghurt and cornflour in a bowl and stir thoroughly. Set aside.
Roughly break the rice noodles. Cover them in boiling water and stand for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Place the chickpeas in a kitchen strainer and pour over two cups of boiling water to rinse off the tin juices.
Fry the chickpeas in a little oil for about 6 minutes, stirring over medium heat until crisp and almost candied.
Mix together the mince, cumin, coriander and 1 teaspoon salt. Shape into little balls the size of a 10-cent piece. Fry them in a little oil until golden brown. Set aside in a warm place.
To make the soup base, add the oil, onion, garlic and fennel in a medium heavy-based pot and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until slightly caramelised. Add the cinnamon, bay leaf, thyme, chilli, a little salt and the saffron. Stir then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the noodles and yoghurt and stir over medium heat in one direction. Heat to just under boiling point then add the fried chickpeas and meatballs and let sit off the heat for 5 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, coriander leaves and a little salt. Serve.
Leftovers will keep for a couple of days; reheat gently to serve.
If you’ve got a crowd coming, the recipe can be doubled.
In a heavy oven-proof pot with a lid, heat the oil and brown the lamb shanks, turning them so you brown them all over. Season well with black pepper and salt. Remove shanks from the pot and set aside.
Over a medium heat, add the whole shallots, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and chilliies. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Return the shanks to the pot, with the vinegar, tomato paste and honey. Stir, then add chicken stock and figs. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Place the lid on the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meat is just starting to collapse from the bone.
Take the pot from the oven and remove the shanks, allowing the liquid to drain a little. Carefully wrap each shank in a vine leaf and place in a baking dish with a little space between each. Reduce the sauce remaining in the pot by one third. Pour the sauce into the baking dish with the lamb, ensuring that the shanks are not submerged. Make sure the figs have been transferred to the baking dish.
Turn the oven up to 180°C and place the baking dish in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up the vine leaves. Serve with rice.
I love barley for its nuttiness and the slippery, good-for-you texture that works so well with lamb.
If it’s not possible to get lamb shanks cut into three pieces, increase the first hour-long braising period to 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Put the shank pieces in a baking tray with 2 tablespoons of the oil and the cumin. Season with salt and mix well to coat the lamb. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until golden.
In a large, heavy-based pot add the rest of the oil, the onion, garlic, chilli, carrot and celery. Cook over a medium-high heat on the stovetop for 20 minutes, stirring often, until golden and caramelised.
Add the cinnamon stick, a teaspoon of pepper and the ground coriander. Stir for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes, tomato paste, crumbled stock cubes, barley, the browned shank pieces and 3 litres of water.
Bring to a simmer, then turn down and cook on low-medium heat for 1 hour. Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 40 minutes until the meat is tender. Season to taste.
Serve in wide, shallow bowls with a dollop of yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon and a scattering of coriander leaves.