Monday, 22 April 2013

Pulled pommegranate and isot-spiced lamb

This dinner party main is great for a work night, if you only have an hour or 2 before you have to serve. You can do a lot of the work in the two evenings coming up to it and feel like you’ve got the meat in the bag.
Isot, otherwise known as Urfa Biber, is a Turkish spice made from drying out dark purple chillis in the sun, giving them a raisiney flavour. you can get it in specialist spice shops and it is a bit different but if you can't be bothered, normal dried chili will do

Pulled pommegrante and isot spiced lamb

Hot honey glazed carrots and parsnip with chili, fennel seeds, basil, and sesame yoghurt

Spiced mixed rice with apricot and pine nuts

yes, I have posted this recipe before but it is scrumptious with the lamb!

The Lamb (serves 4-5)
1.3kg bone-in lamb shoulder joint
4 shallots rough diced
1l carton pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (you can do an extra tablespoon of honey instead if you don't have any)

For the marinade
1 table spoon ras el hanout
1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp of pepper and 1 of salt
1 tablespoon isot

1 tablespoon tomato purée
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

To Garnish
1/2 a pomegranate

The Rice (serves 4-5)

200g of brown basmati mixed in a  3:1 ratio with red rice (Waitrose 'love life' do a mixed version which I used)
3 shallots, finely diced
8 dried apricots, finely diced
1 tablespoon of oil (or fat from the lamb)
1 tablespoon of tad el hanoit
1/2 tsp salt
400ml chicken stock (using a good quality stock cube is fine)
To Garnish
2 tablespoons of pine nuts
The leaves of a small bunch of flat leafed parsley

The Carrots and Parsnips (serves 4-5)
700 kg of baby carrots
2 parsnips
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of dried chilli flakes
½ tsp salt
Oil for cooking
1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of honey for frying, later

1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

½ a pot of yoghurt
A tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
A tablespoon of honey
Salt to taste

A handful of basil


2 days in advance: Combine your marinade ingredients and massage them into the lamb, cover and refrigerate the next day.

1 day in advance: Remove the lamb from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 150C/130C fan/ gas 3.

Put your shallots in your baking dish - I used a porcelain one since it tends not to burn things as easily. Place your lamb on top of the onions and pour in the pomegranate juice (if it doesn't all fit in your pan without being dangerously deep then just enjoy a glass yourself)

Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 hours.

Allow to cool and then strain your cooking liquid into a bowl and place the onions back in the dish with the lamb. Allow both to cool, and refrigerate overnight, tightly covered with foil/cling film.

On the day, 2 hours before serving:
Now there should be a thick layer of solidified fat above your cooking liquid. Remove this and save for cooking - I roasted my carrots in it instead of oil, and used it to cook the onions for my rice.

Heat the liquid in a saucepan and add the honey and molasses - let it reduce on a high heat until it is syrupy - this means it has to reduce a lot and could take up to 30 minutes. When done, pour the liquid back in with your lamb.

Preheat the oven to 220C / 200fan

Meanwhile, prepare your carrots by peeling and halving them lengthways. Peel and dice your parsnip into pieces around 1cm x 1cm x 0.5cm. This takes a while with the little, fiddly carrots.

Heat up the oil (or a tablespoon of your lamb fat) in a baking dish in the preheated oven.

After 3-5 minute place the parsnips and carrots in it with the salt, chilli and fennel seeds. Mix them around so they all get a covering.

Remember to check on your sauce.

Roast for 30 minutes so they are cooked (test the parsnip) but the carrots are still crunchy.

While they are in the oven toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan until slightly bronze (only takes a minute or two and very easy to burn so don’t leave the hob while doing it).

Next mix the yoghurt dressing and add salt to taste.

Once the vegetables have had their 30 minutes stir around with a drizzle of sesame oil and a tablespoon of honey.

Serve when needed at room temperature. Toss with the sesame seeds and serve with the plucked basil leaves scattered around the root vegetables and spoons of the yoghurt dressing placed around it.

1 hour 20 minutes before serving: Turn the oven down to 160C / 140Cfan.

Now wash your rice by placing it in a large bowl full of cold water. Rub the grains together with your hands until the water becomes cloudy then strain. Repeat this process two more times then leave to drain in a sieve for 10 minutes.

1 hour 10 minutes before serving: Put the lamb, tightly covered with foil in the oven

Dice your shallot and apricots.

Fry your diced shallots in oil / lamb fat for 3-4 minutes until soft, add the apricots, spice and seasoning and stir for a minute. Pour in the rice and the stock and bring to the boil.

Once bubbling, turn the heat down and cover tightly with foil and a lid and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, do not open the lid!
While the rice is cooking toast your pine nuts in a pan with a drop of oil, stirring the whole time until they are gently bronzed. Put aside when done and take the leaves off the parsley, discarding the stalks.

De-seed your ½ pomegranate.

Once the 25 minutes is up leave it to rest, lid on for 10-30 minutes.

To serve transfer it into a bowl and mix in the pine nuts, place the parsley on top.

10 minutes before serving: Take the lamb out of the oven and shred / carve all the meat of the bone and mix in with the sauce. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve

I followed this up with a fruit tart which will be posted soon…