Versatile: Slow-roast lamb shoulder with spiced freekeh / Jason Lowe

Serves 6-8

Freekeh, which is basically green wheat which has been lightly toasted, may not be available in your local supermarket, but it is definitely worth going the extra mile to find it. Think of it like spelt, but more versatile.

1 shoulder of lamb, on the bone
A little vegetable oil for frying
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
A few sprigs of rosemary

For the freekeh

2tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tsp cumin seeds
2tsp black mustard seeds
2tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp dried chilli flakes
The seeds from 12 cardamom pods
200g freekeh, soaked in cold water for 2 hours
1tbsp tomato purée
1x350g can of chopped tomatoes
1.5ltrs hot chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Make some incisions in the shoulder with the point of a knife and insert the garlic and rosemary. Season the shoulder, heat the oil in a frying pan and lightly colour the lamb on all sides and then place in a roasting tray. Cook for about 4 hours, basting as it is cooking.

Meanwhile, gently cook the onions and all of the spices in the butter in a heavy-based saucepan for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the tomato purée and tomatoes and stir in 1ltr of the stock. Season and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Check the freekeh; it needs to still have a bit of bite, so add more stock if necessary and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and it is a sloppy, risotto-like consistency.

To serve, transfer the freekeh into an ovenproof serving dish. Place the lamb on top and return to the oven until required. Serve by cutting chunks off the shoulder.

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