Spiced Shoulder of Lamb

02 Dec 2011
By Ahlanlive.com

Chef Andy Campbell shows us how to make his favourite meal and tells us about his culinary experiences


Shoulder of lamb
1 tsp Baharat spice mix
1 tsp salt
Zest of one lemon
Bruised cardamom pods
A pinch of saffron
1 tbsp olive oil.
2 peeled carrots, cut in half length-wise
2 peeled onions, cut in half
4 cloves peeled garlic
1 bay leaf
Coriander stalks, leaves reserved
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
Saffron-infused yoghurt

Hatta honey
Juice of one lemon
Rose water
2 peeled turnips
2 diced courgettes
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced.

Serves: 4

1. Bring the shoulder of lamb to room temperature. In a baking tray, add two carrots, two onions, the bay leaf and the coriander stalks. Add a pint of boiling water.
2. Place the lamb on a wire rack and cover with the spices, cardamon pods and olive oil.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cover the baking tray with a double sheet of aluminium foil and cook for two hours on the middle shelf.
4. When cooked, allow the lamb to cool, remove the bones and soak the meat in honey and lemon juice. Roll in chopped coriander and wrap in plastic film.
5. Allow to set overnight. Then cut into four pieces.
6. Reheat in a preheated oven for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the vegetables in the strained meat juices.
7. Flavour with rose water and stir in a little butter or olive oil to thicken the sauce. Serve with grilled lamb cutlets and saffron-infused yoghurt.

Chef Andy Campbell reveals, "My culinary experiences started while living in Newcastle in the 1960s, when we would go to the Quayside and buy fresh fish from the trawlermen. My mother would cook fresh cod in bright yellow bread crumbs, served with the crispest of chips. I never forgot that smell. My father would dig potatoes from the garden and my brother, sister and I would shell peas. We moved house and, as my brother and I grew, we became more boisterous – it was more like food fights with overripe tomatoes than gastronomy.

When I was six we went to Morocco to visit my grandmother in Tangier for the summer holidays. The memories of the markets, the pungent aroma of watermelon (a fruit not seen in the UK at the time) and the vibrant colours of the spice souks are still vivid; they set me on world travels later in life. It was with this trip that I learned to cook and eat well.

In the 80s, at the age of 23, I opened my first restaurant in London, cooking worldwide dishes. My sous chef was Moroccan, I taught him English and he taught me to cook Tagine, Harira and spiced fish. I first came to Dubai 19 years ago and wanted to stay but only managed to come back a couple of years ago. Much has changed: on my first visit milk was scarce and butter was sold in tins, now the supermarkets stock imported goods. I always try to use local ingredients however – home-grown vegetables, fish, shellfish and lamb are all great and very affordable.

This summer, while working on the Isle of Skye off the coast of Scotland, I went to the neighbouring island of North Uist to visit my friend, the Rock and Roll Chef. We fished, helped his brother grade sheep and ate and drank well. I recently also went to see my friend who owns Relax RV Camping in Ras Al Khaimah. He cooked a whole milk feed lamb in a big steaming pot over charcoal and we ate under the stars, pulling off clumps of meat dipped in saffron and honey-scented sauce and enjoying local bread. It was a truly wonderful UAE experience.

This has become one of my signature dishes, accompanied by grilled cutlets and butter pastry filled with braised shanks. I use various cuts as when I work in restaurants I like to buy the whole carcass and utilise all the parts; the legs for Sunday roast or rogan josh, the belly for sausage or kofta, the neck for Scotch broth and the trim for burgers. Use the shoulder for this recipe and garnish with grilled cutlets and saffron-scented yoghurt."

INFO: Andy Campbell is a food blogger and chef for hire. To find out more about Andy, and how to hire him, go to www.chefandycampbell.com.