Sometimes, when you cook a lot of food for people often, you may have one or two particular dishes that stand out in your mind and trigger a memory of a special moment in time. The smells. The flavours. Oh so good.
Other times will not be unlocked from the vault of your memory so easily. And inadvertently someone will remember that meal like it was yesterday. And months or years later they will ask you what you did with the lamb that day… how you cooked it… what was that side dish? How come jesus named cous-cous twice? All really good questions but sometimes they are questions I have not been properly equipped to answer, or maybe I didn’t get the full brief.
This is a recipe I have created today to fill in for a dish I may have cooked a year ago.
Slow roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic, and a salad of cous-cous, beetroot and feta… actually I’m gonna pretend that I stuffed the lamb with the herbs and cous-cous and we will serve it with a salad of beetroot, red onion and feta. Okey dokey. Yep. You remember that too…
For the lamb
1 lamb shoulder, boned (not Friday night after the pub styles. Just ask your butcher to take the bone out)
kitchen or butchers twine to tie that puppy back up again
1 cup cous-cous, cooked according to instructions given to you by your alien masters. Or just use the instructions on the packet if that’s easier
½ onion, diced fine
5 cloves garlic, plus 5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, plus one sprig rosemary, chopped (no, I am not playing games)
1 wedge preserved lemon*, pith and flesh removed, skin diced
- Sweat off onion and half the garlic. Add it to the cous-cous. Add half the rosemary and the preserved lemon and mix thouroughly
- Open the lamb shoulder up like a swag
- Lay all or most of the cous-cous mix into the middle of the lamb and roll that swag back up
- Now truss it as pro or budget as you can. Use the butchers twine for this. Wool or nylon rope is no good
- Take the remaining garlic and rosemary, 1 tspn sea salt, a pinch of peppercorns and a good hit of olive oil, and damn well smash it into a paste in a mortar a pestle. We shall name this the sexy massage paste
- Now rub that rolled lamb down with your sexy massage paste… it loves it. Rub it down some more
- Roast in a pre-heated oven, 180C, 30 minutes or until golden brown. Actually, more of an autumn brown I think…
- Drop the temp to 160C for 3 hours. Rest for 15-20 minutes in oven (turned off but still warm). Perfect, no dramas, yum yum
for the salad (put this together while the lamb is resting)
1kg beetroot, cooked, cut up in an orderly fashion and dressed with a basic pickling liquid** (or tinned baby beetroots, quartered)
1 red onion, sliced as thick or as fine as you want
500g soft feta (some of that marinated sheeps feta I told you how to make a while back works perfectly here)
250g baby spinach leaves, or rocket, or mesclun if you want
- Combine and dress with pickle liquid left from beetroots
*as of now preserved lemon should be one of your larder staples. You can make your own if you have the time. I would suggest you try the fleshy bit just to quell your curiosity as to why every recipe that uses preserved lemon tells you to discard the flesh.
**1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 cup castor sugar, 2 bay leaves all into a pot. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Done. High-five anyone in your immediate vicinity.