Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

neck and shoulder of Hay Valley lamb
with pomegranate

serves 10
2 days, but only about an hour actual preparation time

caramelised onions
2kg brown onion, peeled weight, finely sliced
250g unsalted butter
100g Billington's dark sugar
20g Maldon sea salt
5g black pepper, freshly ground black pepper

for the lamb
1 quantity of caramelised onion
neck, shoulder, and fore–leg of Hay Valley lamb
sea salt
a mix of black and white pepper, coarsely and freshly ground
6 cinnamon sticks
30g whole juniper berries, bruised with a meat mallet
5 cloves of organic garlic, peeled and any sprouting removed (optional)
1L fresh or tetra pack unsweetened pomegranate juice (available from most Middle Eastern grocery stores)
2L light chicken or lamb stock
8–10 dried limes, cracked but not crushed with a mallet (available from most Middle Eastern grocery stores)

method
caramelised onions
Cook the onions with the other ingredients until they are almost black but not burnt. this takes several hours and in the last stages when they start to darken special care needs to be taken.
tip in winter we make caramelised onions in bulk and vac them it makes making those lovely slow–cooked winter dishes a breeze.

for the lamb
The size of the piece of lamb is dependant on the size of your cooking pot. The lamb can be cooked at 80°C or in the restaurant situation it can be cooked in a sous–vide bath. At home we have 7.5L “cooking essentials” slow cookers. They are extremely inexpensive, but we have found that similar results can be achieved as with a sous–vide bath.

Having selected your cooking equipment, put half of the caramelised onion in the bottom and spread it evenly. Put half of the cinnamon and juniper in top of the onion, then put the lamb on top and season it generously, Add the remaining cinnamon and juniper, pomegranate juice and stock. Add sufficient water to just cover the meat.

cooking methods for three different types of equipment
cooking in the oven at 80°C
Cover the meat with a sheet of baking (silicon) paper and then tightly cover with a double layer of foil sealing the edges by crimping them tightly. If you are using a combi steam oven 10% steam is good. Cook for one hour at 100°C for one hour, then turn the heat back to 80°C and cook for a further nine hours. Carefully open the foil seal, turn the lamb over and push the crushed limes into the sauce and cook for another two hours.
sous–vide bath
Cover the meat with a sheet of baking (silicon) paper and then tightly cover with a double layer of foil sealing the edges by crimping them tightly. Cook for one hour at 100°C for one hour, then turn the heat back to 80°C and cook for a further nine hours. Carefully open the foil seal, turn the lamb over and push the crushed limes into the sauce and cook for another two hours.
domestic slow cooker
Cook on high for two hours, or until the edges start to bubble. Turn the heat down to low and after two hours check the temperature with a digital thermometer. It should be about 80°C and cook for another nine hours. Turn the lamb over and push the crushed limes into the sauce and cook for another two hours.
All domestic slow cookers have varying ranges of temperatures and it is wise to ascertain what they are before you start leaving food to cook overnight.

to finish the dish
Allow the dish to cool sufficiently that you can remove the meat from the sauce. Transfer the sauce to a pot and using a ladle dipped repeatedly into ice remove the fat from the top of the sauce. Once the fat has been removed place it on low heat and simmer gently to reduce slightly. So that you can handle the meat while it is still very hot, and wearing cotton gloves inside food service gloves pull the meat from the bones and remove all of the fat. Keep warm until the sauce is sufficiently reduced to be soupy but not thick and return the meat to the sauce.
Taste and adjust seasoning.

SERVE WITH
cous cous with pickled lemon, pomegranate, herbs and pistachio click here


beating the budget or food costs
This is a wonderfully inexpensive dish and whilst the cooking time is lengthy the actual preparation time is short. A great winter lunch dish it can be made completely in advance and re–warmed at low heat or in the restaurant situation it can be portioned and vaaced. It is wonderful re–warmed in a bath and in the instance where there might be wood oven, just finished for a few minutes in the wood oven where the top becomes caramelised and it takes on a light smoky flavour.

like to see more art by food editor Ann Oliver click here