If you haven’t eaten lamb in a while, here are a few good reasons to head to the butcher shop: lamb is a complete protein, it’s high in iron, and a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Another reason not to forget about lamb is that a recipe like this one – Lamb and Pomegranate Salad – just isn’t the same with beef, pork or chicken.
Lamb shoulder is marinated in garlic, ginger and a hint of cinnamon then slow-cooked until tender. Instead of salad dressing, the greens are tossed with the warm jus left in the roasting pan, topped with slices of succulent lamb and garnished with sweet-tart pomegranate seeds and fresh basil. The pomegranate and basil add bursts of flavor and color to the rich meat.
While other cuts of lamb can quickly go from perfectly pink and tender to tough and chewy, you don’t have to keep a close eye on lamb shoulder. Lamb shoulder is a confidence-building cut that’s almost certain to come out juicy, tender and flavorful even if you only season with salt and pepper. Allow a few hours for roasting in the oven and you’ll be rewarded with a hearty and deeply flavorful roast that requires very little hands-on cooking time.
Lamb and Pomegranate Salad looks so gourmet, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make. Throw together a quick marinade, let the meat soak up the flavor, then put the meat in the oven and let it be. A few hours later you’ll have a succulent cut of meat and a salad like no other.
2-3 pounds lamb shoulder (900-1350 g)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-inch piece of peeled ginger root, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (2.5 ml)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (5 ml)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (2.5 ml)
3 tablespoons coconut oil (45 ml)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (45 ml)
1/4 cup water, plus more if needed (60 ml)
Large handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
Greens for the salad (try arugula, mache or mixed baby greens)
You can whisk together the marinade, but using a blender combines the flavors better. In a blender, combine the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, salt, pepper, coconut oil and vinegar. Blend at medium or high speed until garlic and ginger are finely chopped and the consistency is like a runny paste.
If the lamb is held together with netting, take the netting off and unroll the meat. Rub the entire roast down with the marinade.
Roll the roast back up and put the netting back on to hold it together. Let the meat sit at room temperature for 1 hour to marinate, or refrigerate for several hours.
Preheat oven to 325 °F (163 °C)
Place the lamb in a roasting pan, fat side up, and add the water.
Cover tightly with foil (or a lid) and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and pulls apart easily with a fork. As the meat roasts, check it once or twice to make sure the pan is not dry. This will only happen if the foil isn’t tight enough and steam escapes. If for some reason the pan is dry, add another 1/4 cup of water.
When the lamb has finished roasting, take off the foil and turn on the oven broiler to low. Broil the lamb just to crisp up the strip of fat on top, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the lamb from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let it cool enough that you can touch it, then slice or shred the meat.
Cut the pomegranate in half. Squeeze out the juice into a bowl. You can drizzle a little juice on the salad if you like, or just drink it straight. Whacking the skin side of the cut pomegranate repeatedly with a spoon will make most of the seeds drop out into a bowl; the rest you can scrape or pick out.
To make each salad, put 2 large handfuls of greens in a bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the warm pan drippings onto the greens and toss. Arrange meat on top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish liberally with basil.