Middle-Eastern pulled lamb shoulder


Lamb is a huge deal all over the Middle East. All of its parts, including the weird ones receive a lot of respect and the meat is a staple in many households. Growing up in Israel, the best lamb I tasted was when we visited local restaurants in Arabic villages. They had countless of methods to cook lamb and you could really feel it's coming from long traditions. Think what you want about Halal butchering, Arabs know their lamb inside and out. With that in mind, I really wanted to create a dish that takes under consideration this tradition and puts these flavours forward. Having said that, this is not a traditional way of cooking lamb where I come from. However the flavour profile is deeply rooted in this region. Preserved lemons, lots of cardamon, cumin, cinnamon and garlic.

If you like lamb, a lamb shoulder is one of the nicest cuts of meat available from this animal. If you are not that into lamb or never tried it, lamb shoulder is the place to start. Mild in its lamb flavour, tender texture, crunchy on the outside and moist in the inside. It's a tough cut of meat so low and slow is important. Take your time marinating and cooking on a low temperature. If you have the time, start the process 48 hours in advance so you can marinate, cook and reheat 24 hours after the cooking for extra flavour. Get your lamb from a halal butcher if you can, they know how to treat the cut best. Get the butcher to trim off the outside tough fat layer wrapping the muscle from the outside. There is plenty of delicious, soft fat in the muscle and extra flavour in the bones. For that reason ask your butcher to break the bone in two places and leave it inside the meat. That way you get a lamb stock bonus builtin to your dish. If you have a clay pot with a cover, that is the best. It retains moisture to another level. If you don't any container with a cover that can take heat will do.


Lamb shoulder with bone broken inside and external fat trimmed off.
Approx. 2.5 - 3 kg


90gr. coriander (Approx 1.5 bunch)
250gr. white onion (Approx 2 large onions)
Whole large garlic head peeled
Juice from 3 lemons
2 preserved lemons (Store bought or see here for recipe)
2 strong red dry chillies
1.5 dl. of olive oil
2 tbsp. cumin powder
2 tbsp. cardamon powder
3 tbsp. cinnamon powder
2.5 tbsp. hot paprika powder
2.5 tbsp. fine sea salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
4 tbsp. honey 


Hand-full of roasted pine nuts
Hand-full of finely chopped flat leaf parsley


Ask your butcher to prep the lamb shoulder as explained. Place the lamb shoulder in a container you can sill. Using a paring knife poke a few holes all around the lamb. Set aside. Blitz all the ingredients for the marinade together until they become an even paste. Pour the marinade on the lamb and rub it well all around. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. An hour before cooking the lamb remove it from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 150c with fan. Meanwhile place the marinated lamb in a clay pot with a lid. Alternatively you can use a deep roasting tray sealed with heat safe clingfilm and covered in foil or a large cast iron pot with a lid. Cook in a sealed container for 4 hours. Increase the temperature to 170c and remove cover. Continue cooking for 30 minutes, basting the meat every few minutes.

Remove the lamb and let it cool on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Pour the cooking liquids into a jug and set aside to cool. Using your hands start breaking the meat off the bone and set in a serving tray. Keep the meat in nice chunks that can fit in the palm of your hand. Discard the rest. Using a spoon remove the fat that accumulated on top of the cooking liquids. Slowly stir in some of the clean cooking liquids into the pulled meat. Just enough for the meat to absorb the liquids. Garnish with roasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.

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