Slow roasted lamb shoulder with spiced pumpkin

Lamb and Mutton SA
4 servings Prep: 30 mins, Cooking: 3 hrs 30 mins
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A feast best enjoyed alongside family and friends - slow-roasted tender lamb shoulder served with spice pumpkin wedges and a feta and herb-infused couscous.

By Independent Contributor September 15 2022
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Ingredients (25)

For the lamb shoulder
2-3 onions — peeled and sliced into wedges
1 carrot — cut into chunks
4-6 garlic cloves — peeled & sliced into long slivers (plus extra cloves, whole)
a few sprigs fresh rosemary
3-4 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper — to taste
1.5 kg lamb shoulder — on the bone (scoring of fat layer on top optional)
250 ml red wine
For the pumpkin
45-60 ml olive oil
10 ml ground cumin
5 ml smoked paprika
5 ml ground cinnamon
15 ml honey
salt and black pepper
1 small pumpkin — sliced into wedges, seeds and pith scooped out
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup flaked almonds — toasted (or pine nuts)
For the couscous
1 cup couscous
750 ml boiling water
salt and black pepper — to taste
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon — zested and juiced
2 rounds feta cheese — crumbled (optional)
1 handful fresh mint — roughly chopped
1 handful fresh parsley — roughly chopped
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For the shoulder: Preheat the oven to 230°C and arrange a rack in the centre of the oven. In a roasting tray the same size as the shoulder, arrange the onions, carrots and a few cloves of garlic evenly, top with some rosemary, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the shoulder on top, fat side up. Make a few small incisions all over with a sharp paring knife, and insert a slivers of garlic into each incision. Drizzle all over with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and scatter with some chopped rosemary. Pour the wine into the bottom of the pan, then cover with foil and place in the oven. Turn down the heat immediately to 170°C, then roast for about 3,5 hours or until the meat is tender enough to pull apart with a fork. In the meantime, prepare the pumpkin and couscous.

Tip: While the pumpkin is roasting (see below) and meat is resting, make an optional gravy by heating the pan sauces in a small saucepan, and thickening it with a slurry of a few tablespoons water mixed with a few teaspoons of corn starch. Add mutton stock to stretch it, if needed.

For the pumpkin: Line a large roasting tray with baking paper. In a large wide mixing bowl, add the olive oil, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, honey and some salt and pepper. Add the sliced pumpkin and toss to coat all over, then tip the pumpkin out on the prepared roasting tray. When the meat (see above) is ready, remove it from the oven and turn the heat up to 220°C. While the meat is resting, roast the pumpkin for about 20 minutes until cooked and golden brown, then remove from the oven and scatter with toasted almonds and cranberries. Serve alongside the couscous and shoulder roast.

Note: Dried cranberries work beautifully, but if you want to go the extra mile, simmer the cranberries in 1/2 cup of red wine, with a cinnamon stick and a whole star anise until they are plumped up. Cool and store in the fridge until ready to use. 

For the couscous: Place the couscous and a pinch of salt in a large bowl, then cover with boiling water (it should just cover the couscous). Cover with a lid or a plate, then leave to stand and swell for about 5-10 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then add the olive oil, lemon rind & juice, crumbled feta (optional) and chopped herbs. Stir well, then serve warm.

Supported by the Red Meat Industry of SA – Recipes developed by  The Food Fox- Ilse van der Merwe and photos by Tasha Seccombe.

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