Rubbed in garlic, anchovies and sabaht baharat, then slow-roasted for 12 hours, this lamb is intensely flavoured and meltingly tender. Keep an eye on the lamb in the final stage of cooking, as the skin will caramelise quickly.
- 130 g garlic, peeled
- pinch of salt
- 30 g anchovy fillets
- 2 tbsp sabaht baharat (Lebanese seven spice) (see note)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1.2 kg lamb shoulder
- 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
- 7 g dried yeast
- 1½ tsp caster sugar
- 65 ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 1½ tsp salt, plus extra for the spice mix
- 275 ml lukewarm water
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 30 g goji berries (see note), soaked in cold water for 3 hours, drained
- 30 g currants, soaked in cold water for 3 hours, drained
- 30 g pine nuts, toasted
- 25 g inka berries (see note), soaked in cold water for 3 hours, drained
- 25 g pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 25 g sunflower seeds, toasted
- 25 g pomegranate seeds
- 20 g barberries (see note), soaked in cold water for 3 hours, drained
- 20 g store-bought candied orange and lemon peel
- 20 g slivered Iranian pistachios
- 1 apricot, stones removed, finely chopped
- 2 medjool dates, seed removed, finely chopped
- 500 g labna (see note)
- olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 1–2 days
To make the marinade for the lamb, pound the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Add the anchovy and pound until combined. Add the sabaht baharat and olive oil and mix through. Score the lamb shoulder on the flesh side and smear the marinade all over, rubbing well into the slits. Transfer the lamb to a baking tray, cover and marinate in the fridge for 24–48 hours.
Preheat the oven to 100°C. Place the lamb in a deep roasting dish and transfer to the oven. Cook for 10–12 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Increase the heat to 220°C and cook for a further 15–20 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Remove from the oven and cover to keep warm while cooking the spiced bread. Reduce the oven to 180°C.
Begin the spiced bread when the lamb has about 2½ hours left to cook. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Set the mixer to medium and gradually add the water. Mix for 5–7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, you can make this dough by hand. In a bowl or on a flat work surface, place the flour in a mound and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and the water. Using your hands and working in a circular motion, slowly start to incorporate the flour from the edges into the centre, being careful not to break the wall. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Lightly flour your hands and knead for 10–12 minutes or until smooth and elastic.) Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to prove in a warm place for 1–2 hours or until doubled in size.
In a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the coriander and cumin seeds with a pinch of salt. Add the nigella seeds and mix to combine. Set aside.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back. Divide into 10 equal portions and roll into balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball, then roll out to a 12 cm round, about 1 cm thick. Transfer the breads to lightly oiled baking trays, cover and allow to prove for 20–25 minutes or until doubled in size. Using your fingertips, make shallow indents in the breads (this will give the oil and spices something to cling to). Drizzle with extra olive oil and sprinkle with the spice mix. Bake for 13–15 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, to make the nomads’ yoghurt, combine all the ingredients, except the labna and olive oil, in a bowl and toss to combine. Smear the labna evenly across the surface of a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil. Spoon the fruit and nut mix over the top.
Serve the lamb shoulder in the baking dish at the table with the spiced bread and nomads’ yoghurt.
• Sabaht baharat is a blend of spices often referred to as Lebanese seven spice or simply baharat. You will find baharat in Middle Eastern grocery stores and at quality spice merchants.
• Goji berries and inka berries are available from health food stores. Barberries are available from Middle Eastern grocers.
• Barberries are tart, dried fruits available in Middle Eastern grocers.
• Labna is thick yoghurt cheese made by adding salt to yoghurt then hanging the yoghurt to remove the excess whey. Labna can be purchased from European delicatessens and cheese stores.