Warm shredded lamb with mint and pomegranate

Warm shredded lamb with mint and pomegranate

1 shoulder of lamb (approx. 21/2 kg)

4 shallots, halved but not peeled

6 cloves garlic

1 carrot, peeled and halved

Maldon salt

500ml boiling water

Small handful freshly chopped mint

1 pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1.

On the hob, brown the lamb, fat-side down, in a large roasting tin. Remove when nicely browned across its middle (you won't get much more than this) and set aside while you fry the vegetables briefly. Just tip them into the pan - you won't need to add any more fat - and cook them, sprinkled with the salt, gently for a couple of minutes. Pour the water over and then replace the lamb, this time fat-side up. Let the liquid in the pan come to a bubble, then tent with foil and put in the preheated oven.

Now just leave it there while you sleep. I find that if I put the lamb in before I go to bed, it's perfect by lunchtime the next day. But the point is, at this temperature, nothing's going to go wrong with the lamb if you cook it for a little less or a little more.

If you want to cook the lamb the day you're going to eat it, heat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and give it 5 hours or so. The point is to find a way of cooking that suits you: you know what sort of pottering relaxes you and what makes you feel constrained; how much time you've got, and how you want to use it. Don't let the food, the kitchen or the imagined expectations of other people bully you.

With that homily over, about an hour before you want to eat, remove the lamb from the tin to a large plate or carving board - not that it needs carving; the deal here is that it's unfashionably overcooked, falling to tender shreds at the touch of a fork. This is the best way to deal with shoulder of lamb: it's cheaper than leg, and the flavour is deeper, better, truer, but even good carvers, which I most definitely am not, can get unstuck trying to slice it.

I get on with the peppers while the lamb's sitting meekly, but you could equally have done this earlier, too. But to finish the lamb salad, simply pull it to pieces with a couple of forks on a large plate. Sprinkle with more Maldon salt and some freshly chopped mint, then cut the pomegranate in half and dot with the seeds from one of the halves. This is easily done; there's a simple trick, which means you never have to think of winkling out the jewelled pips with a safety pin every again. Simply hold the pomegranate half above the plate, take a wooden spoon and start bashing the curved skin side with it. Nothing will happen for a few seconds, but have faith. In a short while the glassy red, juicy beads will start raining down.

Take the other half and squeeze the preposterously pink juices over the warm shredded meat. Take to the table and serve.

What I do with the leftovers is warm a pitta bread in the microwave, and then spread it with a greedy dollop of hummus, then take the chill off the fridged lamb in the microwave (and see notes on cold fat, above) and stuff the already gooey pitta with it. Add freshly chopped mint, black pepper and whatever else you like; raw, finely chopped red onion goes dangerously well.

Serves
6

Main ingredients
Fruit, Lamb

Recipe Type
Dinner, Easy, Entertaining, Family Dinners, Healthy, Quick Meals, Salads

Level of Difficulty
Easy

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