Slow cooked Easter lamb with pomegranate and spiced rice
A we hurtle through 2021, I can’t quite believe Easter is fast approaching! Spring is one of my favourite times of year, I start seeing life growing everywhere I walk, those first daffodils of the year are a thing of beauty, and I just know that my favourite foods will soon be back in season Easter – Of course, calls for lamb, it’s a timeless classic for Easter dinner, but in our house, we don’t often have a traditional roast lamb dinner (much to my partners chagrin sometimes, It’s one of his favourites) instead I normally slow cook it, much less room for error with it being almost impossible to overcook, and it gives a tender fall apart texture that is absolutely perfect for leftover cooking the next day! A beautifully simple dish to make, enjoyed by Greeks, Cypriots and the wider Middle East in some form or another, It's a great one to leave cooking on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, just check on it every hour or so as the meat becomes tender and takes on all those beautiful flavours. I serve it with spiced rice (recipe below) but its yummy with some tender greens, roasted root veg such as squash and pumpkin, or simply chuck a few waxy Cyprus potatoes or new season potatoes (such as Jersey Royals) in with the onion, garlic and tomatoes at the start and let them do their thing! Recipe feeds 4 with leftovers 1 Lamb shoulder – approx. 1.8-2kg Bone in 250ml boiling water with 1 chicken/vegetable stock cube dissolved in 3 tbsp olive oil Juice of 1 lemon 3 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses 2 tbs balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoon oregano 1 tsp ground Cinnamon 1 tsp paprika (optional) 3 tsp dried mint 2 bay leaves 3 brown onion cut into ¼ 4 large tomatoes - halved 5 cloves garlic – peeled and kept whole Pomegranate seeds and pine nuts 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. 2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, balsamic, oregano, cinnamon, paprika, mint and bay leaves to a large bowl and mix together. Season well with salt and pepper. 3. in the bottom of a large dish or roasting tray put the onions, garlic and tomatoes, pour over a tablespoon of the olive oil mixture and toss everything to coat. 4. Place the lamb shoulder on top and pour over the remainder of the mixture, rubbing into the lamb, season again and pour in the boiling water and stock, finally add in the bay leaves. 5. Cover with foil tightly, place the lid on the dish if it has one and place in the oven. 6. Lower temperature to 160°C and cook for 6 hours + , checking every hour to baste. If the juices and water are reducing too much top it up with a cup or so of water 9. As soon as its falling off the bone youll know its ready but this can cook for longer if needs be. 10. serve part shredded with pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top. For my spiced rice for 4 1 chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 chicken stock cube 1 mug long grain rice handful chopped dried apricots pine nuts. 1. Fry the onion in a little butter then stir through the cinnamon, and add the rice to coat. 2. Stir in 2 mugs of boiling water with the stock cube dissolved and once bubbling, cover with a lid. 3. Simmer for 5 minutes, stir and turn off the heat and leave uncovered for 10 minutes till all the water has been absorbed, stir in the apricots and pine nuts and enjoy! Enjoy!