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The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen’s Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder with Fig and Pistachio Salsa

by The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Team, Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things

This slow-cooked lamb shoulder with a fresh fig pistachio salsa from The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen is an impressive centrepiece for any dinner party or upgraded Sunday roast.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad, The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Team

Introduction

This is the perfect special-occasion centrepiece, as it’s just a matter of assembling everything in the pan and leaving it to do its thing in the oven. The hardest part is the waiting time, really, as your kitchen is filled with the most tantalising aromas of sweet spices. Get ahead by making the paste and marinating the lamb overnight, being sure to remove it from the fridge a couple of hours before you want to cook it. Serve this alongside the side-of-greens with crispy garlic (p. 139 of Extra Good Things).

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Ingredients

3 (540g) onions, peeled, 1 roughly chopped and the other 2 each cut into 6 wedges
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
30g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
10g dill, roughly chopped
45ml olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2kg lamb shoulder, bone in
3 cinnamon sticks
12 cardamom pods, roughly bashed open with a pestle and mortar
100g soft dried figs, quartered
750ml chicken stock
salt and black pepper
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges, to serve
For the fig and pistachio salsa:
50g soft dried figs, chopped into 1cm dice
40g pistachios, very lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1½ tbsp lemon juice
5g dill, leaves picked
5g parsley, leaves picked

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor.

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Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

Put the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, spices and herbs into a food processor and blitz until finely minced. Add the oil, vinegar, 1¾ teaspoons of salt and a generous grind of pepper and blitz into a coarse paste.

Pat dry the lamb and pierce the flesh all over using a small, sharp knife (about 10–12 times). Coat the lamb well with all the paste. You can cook it right away or leave it to marinate, refrigerated, for 3 hours to overnight.

Put the onion wedges, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and figs into a large, ovenproof cast-iron saucepan (28cm in diameter) for which you have a lid. Alternatively, use a large, high-sided roasting tin and some foil to cover. Top with the lamb, fatty side up, then pour the chicken stock into the pan (but not over the lamb) and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Lower the heat to 140°C fan, baste the lamb with the juices, then cover with the lid or foil and roast for 4½ hours, basting 3–4 times throughout. The lamb should be quite tender at this point. Turn the heat back up to 180°C fan. Remove the lid (or foil) and cook for 30 minutes more, or until the lamb is well browned and the sauce has reduced slightly. Check it at the 20-minute mark.

Gently remove the lamb, leaving it to rest on a baking tray. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a large, shallow platter or dish that has a slight lip and top with the lamb.

Make the fig and pistachio salsa. Combine the chopped figs with the pistachios, lemon juice and the herbs. Spoon this all over the lamb and serve with the lemon wedges alongside.

Fig and pistachio salsa:

– This is best made on the day it is served.

– It marries really well with a cheese toastie or alongside gooey baked Brie.

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From the book: Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things

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