Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with jewelled-rice stuffing

Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with jewelled-rice stuffing

Sardast-e bareh tu por

By
From
Saraban
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

Special occasions demand special dishes, and in Iran this still often means a whole lamb will be stuffed with an exciting mixture of rice, fruit, nuts and herbs before being roasted and presented as a banquet centrepiece. This more modest adaptation uses a rolled shoulder to fit domestic ovens, but achieves an equally sumptuous result.

Shoulder of lamb benefits from very long, slow roasting, which transforms the marbling of fat and connective tissue into melting softness. My approach with this recipe is to poach the lamb gently and then finish it in a hot oven for a lovely crunchy, golden exterior. I find that this way the flesh is exceptionally moist and tasty.

This is another wonderful dish for dinner parties. Because of the rice stuffing, it only needs a simple salad or vegetable dish by way of accompaniment.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.8kg boned lamb shoulder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground
salad, to serve
or vegetables, to serve
thick natural yoghurt, to serve
flatbread, to serve

Jewelled-rice stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
60g basmati rice
50g dried sour cherries, cut in half
50g dried apricots, diced
20g unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely diced
225ml good-quality chicken stock, boiling
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
80g shelled walnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted shelled pistachios
8 dried rosebuds, petals separated
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, roasted and crushed
rosewater
lime juice
or lemon juice

Method

  1. To make the stuffing, soak the rice, sour cherries and dried apricots in separate bowls of cold water for 20 minutes, then drain. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and fry the shallot gently until soft and translucent. Stir in the drained rice, then cover with the boiling stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer over a very low heat, covered, for 12 minutes, or until the rice is just tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Tip the rice into a large bowl and leave to cool. When cold, stir in the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Open out the lamb shoulder on your work surface, skin-side down. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the meat with an even layer of stuffing. Roll it up fairly tightly into a sausage shape, securing with kitchen string at intervals. Wrap the rolled shoulder tightly in several layers of plastic wrap, squeezing gently to ensure there are no bubbles. Twist and tie the ends to make the whole package airand watertight (remember, the wrapped parcel is to be poached).
  3. Fill a fish kettle or large, deep roasting pan with water and bring to a boil. Carefully lower in the plastic-wrapped lamb shoulder and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. If using a roasting pan, cover it loosely with a sheet of foil. You won’t be able to submerge the meat completely, so turn it around in the water after 1 hour. Remove the poached lamb from the water and set it aside to rest, still in its plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Carefully unwrap the rolled lamb and transfer it to a roasting pan, then brush it liberally with oil. Sprinkle on the cumin and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, rolling the meat around in the pan so it browns evenly.
  5. Rest in a warm place for 15–20 minutes, then serve with your choice or salad or vegetables as well as plenty of yoghurt and warm flatbread.
Tags:
Saraban
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Iran
Iranian
Middle Eastern
Persian
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