Turkish Delight Lamb
This dish is one of my favourite’s, I got the recipe idea after many chats with Turkish chefs and friends. We discussed the spices used in everyday cooking and the feel of the meat. It had to be soft like butter when cooked, the bone has to lift out without effort. It can be used as a wonderful roast dinner served with a lemon mash potato and crisp vegetables or my favourite: as a Kebab served in a warm pitta with fresh salad and wedges of lemon.
Prepare it and walk away…
The best thing about this dish is the fact you can leave it cook for up to 7 hours. I cook it in 4 usually but if your out and about cook it for when your about to come back.
I used spices that are found all over the Med but are used a lot in Turkish dishes. The flavours should evoke feelings from past lives. The exotic smells wafting around your kitchen bringing to life the spice markets of Istanbul. Smells should do this, your food should be a sensual experience.
Cumin is a wonderful spice a favorite of the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In the Middle Ages, when spices were relatively rare, cumin was one of the most common spices. It was thought to promote love and fidelity. People carried it to weddings and walked around with it with their pockets. It was reputed to keep lovers and chickens from wandering.
Paprika is an amazing spice, it originates from South America but is now grown all over the world,even on my bedroom window. It is made from ground capsicum’s (we know as peppers) It has a huge amount of Vitamin C even in it’s dried form. I used Spanish Pimenton Dulce a sweet paprika that has a far superior flavour to most other paprikas. Paprika adds a beautiful red colour to dishes and a wonderful flavour. In June there are festivals held all over Spain where Pimenton(paprika) is celebrated. Groups of young men and women rub a paste of Pimenton Dulce all over their bodies and chase each other through the evening streets carrying fiery torches shouting “Pruebame” (“taste me”) at those they encounter.
Pink Himalayan Rock Salt:
Pink Himalayan Rock Salt is a pure, hand-mined salt found naturally deep within the Himalayan Mountains. 200 million years ago, the ancient sea beds were covered by flows of volcanic lava, the lava protected the salt from modern-day pollution, and it is thought to be the purest salt found on earth. It it thought that using pink Himalayan rock salt daily will lead to culinary enlightenment it also looks lovely.
Pepper corns were found stuffed up the nose of Egyptian mummies. They were used as currency in ancient times as they were so rare and only they rich could have them, pepper was “a favourite ingredient of the most expensive Roman cookery”. White pepper consists of the seed of the pepper plant the darker coloured skin of the pepper fruit removed. It has a milder flavour than black pepper and blends nicely into my mix. Pepper is one of my favourite spices I cover my eggs in it.
Oregano is an important green woody herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, the leaves can be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic slightly bitter taste that is used all over the Mediterranean and very much in Turkish Lamb dishes. In medieval Italy rival towns on different banks of the river Reno near Bologna would bake large rock shaped pies stuffed with oregano, tomato and cheese, and throw them at each other, to prove who made the tastiest pies. But in 1642 some citizens baked rocks in the dough and there were dozens of fatalities. So the Signorie (Lordship) of Bologna decreed that on pain of death only flat dough pies could be thrown, so that rocks could not be hidden in them. It was this act that created what we now know as Pizza.
- Whole shoulder of lamb or lamb shanks
- 2 tsp Ground cumin
- 6 tsp Spanish dulce pimenton (paprika)
- 3 tsp Ground white pepper
- 6 tsp of ground rock salt
- 8 tsp Dried oregano
- Whole lemon (optional)
- Half bulb of garlic (optional)
- Medium onion (optional)
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)
- 1/2 bottle of white wine (optional)
- virgin olive oil
Preparation and Cooking:
- Turn your oven on and pre-heat at maximum.
- Get your butcher to cut the shoulder into 2 to 3 pieces so it will fit in a domestic oven tray.
- Make some cuts into the meat so you can rub the spices into it.
- Mix together your spices and rub into the lamb.
- Then pour over a couple of glugs of olive oil and massage the lamb getting the spice deep into the cuts.
- Put in the oven for 25 mins to brown the meat and kick start the cooking.
- Now add a lemon cut into quarters.
- half a bulb of garlic & the sprigs of rosemary.
- 1/2 bottle of wine
- 1/2 pint of water
- Cover tightly with foil and put back in the oven @ 140C for 3 & 1/2 hours or lower the temp for longer cooking times.
This is what you can do with it once cooked: