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Pulled lamb/goat shoulder with pickled onions and sumac, tzatziki sauce, and green schug

Braising is an art, slow cooking meat over extended periods of time, 4-10 hours, or more, helps develop deep flavors and infuse the meat with all the spices and herbs. This tender meat is prized all over the world in French, Italian and Spanish stews, Asian soups, Indian and Thai curries and American chilis. I enjoy eating braised meats, I also really enjoy the process of cooking these dishes, watching the food transform over time and the whole house filling with the fragrant aroma of dinner!

This recipe is no exception. I will admit, it is a recipe you have to commit to, lots of components and the meat takes forever. However, the pulled lamb/goat was spectacular! Super tender and infused with spices from the harissa and the tart from the preserved lemons. On the soft burger, the meat was complimented by the cooling tzatziki sauce, the crunchy onions with sumac and the final touch (or lots) of the green schug. This is a sandwich I really loved!

This is a wonderful cookbook, one that I definitely do not cook from enough. The flavors are spectacular, and not all recipes are as demanding, as this one is. It highlights the cuisine of the region, the recipes are well written and the pictures beautiful. Palomar restaurant in London is a go to destination for modern Middle eastern cuisine. It is so on my bucket list.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.


For the goat shoulder:

4 lbs goat or lamb shoulder, bone in, kept whole or cut in half

3 tablespoons harissa sauce , a good commercial variety okay

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon preserved lemons, seeds removed and minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 onion, sliced

1 carrot, diced fine

2 stalks celery, diced fine

For the red onions and sumac:

3 red onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 large handful of parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 generous tablespoon sumac

3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt, to taste

Other accompaniments:

Hamburger buns, or pita bread pockets

Red onions and sumac


To make the red onions and sumac:

Mix all the ingredients together and allow to marinate for 2 hours though overnight in the fridge is way better. The onions pickle overnight and are wonderful. Can be stored in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days.

For the goat shoulder:

Mix the harissa, preserved lemons, cumin, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Generously coat the meat with the sauce and allow to marinate for 3 hours at room temperature, though overnight in the fridge is always better.

There are a few ways to cook the meat at this stage.

In the oven:

Pre heat the oven to 425° F.

Roast the meat in a dee baking pan for 15 minutes. Turn over, add the vegetables and roast for another 10-15 minutes. You want the meat sealed and starting to brown, without burning the spice mix.

Add boiling water to the pan and cover with foil, sealing well. Place the pan in the oven for another 15 minutes so the water comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to 250° F and roast for 6 hours. Check to see if the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

On the stove:

Pan sauté the meat till seared on all sides with a touch of oil. Make sure you do not burn the spice mix during this process. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté till lightly colored. Add the meat, vegetables and about 2 cups water to an Instapot and slow cook for 7 hours. Turn the meat over a couple of times during this process so that it gets evenly cooked. At the end of this time you should have very tender meat in a wonderful sauce, it should be fork tender.

Remove the cooked meat from the sauce, or the oven, and shred with your fingers, it should be that tender. keep the meat aside in a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid so it does not dry out.

If there is a lot of oil in the cooking liquid, and there will be, you can choose to remove the oil using the following method. I always follow this process for a healthier dinner. Chill the sauce in the fridge for 5 hours, or overnight. The oil forms a layer on top that can be easily scoped off.

Bring the sauce to a boil, and add the meat back into the sauce. Cook on medium heat till the sauce has thickened quite a bit and the meat has absorbed all the spices. I like to leave it a little sloppy (and juicy) as the meat tends to dry up over time.

Serve with hamburger buns or pita bread pockets, tzatziki sauce, green schug, onions and sumac and lettuce.

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