"Lamb rubbed with spices and cooked slowly is quite a traditional preparation in the Middle East," says Greg Malouf. "Served with moghrabieh, giant couscous, this is a great dish to put in the middle of the table with some yoghurt and away you go."
- 6 garlic cloves, 2 sliced, remaining left whole
- ⅓ cup (loosely packed) oregano
- 150 ml olive oil
- 1 large (2kg) lamb shoulder without shank, cut through the bone into 6 equal pieces (see note), trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tbsp Turkish chilli flakes (see note)
- 2.1 litres chicken stock
- 12 salad onions, trimmed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tbsp each ground cumin and ground coriander seeds
- 1 long red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 600 gm moghrabieh (pearl couscous)
- 200 gm canned chickpeas, drained
- 12 cherry tomatoes, blistered under a grill (2-3 minutes), peeled
- Lemon juice, to season
- Coriander leaves (optional) and extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
- 1¼ tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp finely ground black peppercorns
- ¾ tsp cumin seeds, finely ground
- ½ tsp each ground coriander seeds, ground cinnamon and ground cloves
- ¼ tsp each ground cardamom and ground star anise
- Small pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1For baharat (see note), sift all spices together. Makes about 1½ tbsp. Store in an airtight container for up to six months.
- 2Pound whole garlic cloves and 2 tsp salt to a fine paste with a mortar and pestle. Add oregano, 50ml olive oil and 2 tsp baharat and pound to a paste, then massage into lamb.
- 3Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat 50ml olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry lamb, turning, until golden (4-6 minutes). Add chilli flakes and 1.5 litres stock, bring to a simmer, then transfer to a baking dish that fits lamb snugly. Cover with baking paper and foil, then roast, basting every hour, until lamb is tender (3¼-4 hours). Uncover, increase heat to 180°C, add salad onions and roast until lamb is golden and onions are soft (20-30 minutes). Transfer lamb to a bowl, remove excess fat from cooking liquid (place paper towels on the surface, then remove and discard) then return lamb to liquid and keep warm.
- 4Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add diced onion and sliced garlic, and sauté until softened (4-5 minutes). Add cumin and coriander seeds and stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add chilli, bay leaf, moghrabieh and remaining stock to just cover and bring to the boil. Season to taste, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender (25-30 minutes). Add chickpeas and tomatoes, and simmer until stock is absorbed (5-7 minutes). Season to taste with salt and lemon.
- 5Pull lamb from the bone and stir it through the mograbieh. Top with coriander and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to serve
Ask the butcher to prepare the lamb for you. Turkish chilli flakes are available from Middle Eastern grocers. Pre-mixed baharat is available from Middle Eastern grocers and Herbie's Spices (herbies.com.au).
Drink suggestion: Gutsy mourvèdre. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.