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Warm Shredded Lamb Salad With Mint and Pomegranate

by . Featured in NIGELLA BITES
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Introduction

You do need to serve this lamb salad warm rather than cold (a bit of fat provides flavoursome lubrication at anything above room temperature; once cold we're talking congealed, waxy whiteness - not such an attractive proposition), but if you keep the lamb tented with foil once it's out of the oven - should you need to hold it for longer than an hour or two - that shouldn't pose problems.

You do need to serve this lamb salad warm rather than cold (a bit of fat provides flavoursome lubrication at anything above room temperature; once cold we're talking congealed, waxy whiteness - not such an attractive proposition), but if you keep the lamb tented with foil once it's out of the oven - should you need to hold it for longer than an hour or two - that shouldn't pose problems.

Warm Shredded Lamb Salad With Mint and Pomegranate
Photo by Francesca Yorke

Ingredients

Serves: 6-8

Metric Cups
  • 1 shoulder of lamb (approx 2 1/2 kg / 5 1/2 lb)
  • 4 shallots (halved not peeled)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot (peeled and halved)
  • maldon salt
  • 500 millilitres boiling water
  • 1 small handful freshly chopped fresh mint
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 shoulder of lamb (approx 2 1/2 kg / 5 1/2 lb)
  • 4 shallots (halved not peeled)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot (peeled and halved)
  • sea salt flakes
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 small handful freshly chopped fresh mint
  • 1 pomegranate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1/275ºF.
  2. On the hob, brown the lamb, fat-side down, in a large roasting tin. Remove when nicely browned across its middle (you won't get much more than this) and set aside while you fry the vegetables briefly. Just tip them into the pan - you won't need to add any more fat - and cook them, sprinkled with the salt, gently for a couple of minutes. Pour the water over and then replace the lamb, this time fat-side up. Let the liquid in the pan come to a bubble, then tent with foil and put in the preheated oven.
  3. Now just leave it there while you sleep. I find that if I put the lamb in before I go to bed, it's perfect by lunchtime the next day. But the point is, at this temperature, nothing's going to go wrong with the lamb if you cook it for a little less or a little more.
  4. If you want to cook the lamb the day you're going to eat it, heat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF and give it 5 hours or so. The point is to find a way of cooking that suits you: you know what sort of pottering relaxes you and what makes you feel constrained; how much time you've got, and how you want to use it. Don't let the food, the kitchen or the imagined expectations of other people bully you.
  5. With that homily over, about an hour before you want to eat, remove the lamb from the tin to a large plate or carving board - not that it needs carving; the deal here is that it's unfashionably overcooked, falling to tender shreds at the touch of a fork. This is the best way to deal with shoulder of lamb: it's cheaper than leg, and the flavour is deeper, better, truer, but even good carvers, which I most definitely am not, can get unstuck trying to slice it.
  6. To finish the lamb salad, simply pull it to pieces with a couple of forks on a large plate. Sprinkle with more Maldon salt and some freshly chopped mint, then cut the pomegranate in half and dot with the seeds from one of the halves. This is easily done; there's a simple trick, which means you never have to think of winkling out the jewelled pips with a safety pin every again. Simply hold the pomegranate half above the plate, take a wooden spoon and start bashing the curved skin side with it. Nothing will happen for a few seconds, but have faith. In a short while the glassy red, juicy beads will start raining down.
  7. Take the other half and squeeze the preposterously pink juices over the warm shredded meat. Take to the table and serve.
  8. What I do with the leftovers is warm a pitta bread in the microwave, and then spread it with a greedy dollop of hummus, then take the chill off the fridged lamb in the microwave (and see notes on cold fat, above) and stuff the already gooey pitta with it. Add freshly chopped mint, black pepper and whatever else you like; raw, finely chopped red onion goes dangerously well.
  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1/275ºF.
  2. On the hob, brown the lamb, fat-side down, in a large roasting tin. Remove when nicely browned across its middle (you won't get much more than this) and set aside while you fry the vegetables briefly. Just tip them into the pan - you won't need to add any more fat - and cook them, sprinkled with the salt, gently for a couple of minutes. Pour the water over and then replace the lamb, this time fat-side up. Let the liquid in the pan come to a bubble, then tent with foil and put in the preheated oven.
  3. Now just leave it there while you sleep. I find that if I put the lamb in before I go to bed, it's perfect by lunchtime the next day. But the point is, at this temperature, nothing's going to go wrong with the lamb if you cook it for a little less or a little more.
  4. If you want to cook the lamb the day you're going to eat it, heat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF and give it 5 hours or so. The point is to find a way of cooking that suits you: you know what sort of pottering relaxes you and what makes you feel constrained; how much time you've got, and how you want to use it. Don't let the food, the kitchen or the imagined expectations of other people bully you.
  5. With that homily over, about an hour before you want to eat, remove the lamb from the tin to a large plate or carving board - not that it needs carving; the deal here is that it's unfashionably overcooked, falling to tender shreds at the touch of a fork. This is the best way to deal with shoulder of lamb: it's cheaper than leg, and the flavour is deeper, better, truer, but even good carvers, which I most definitely am not, can get unstuck trying to slice it.
  6. To finish the lamb salad, simply pull it to pieces with a couple of forks on a large plate. Sprinkle with more sea salt flakes and some freshly chopped mint, then cut the pomegranate in half and dot with the seeds from one of the halves. This is easily done; there's a simple trick, which means you never have to think of winkling out the jewelled pips with a safety pin every again. Simply hold the pomegranate half above the plate, take a wooden spoon and start bashing the curved skin side with it. Nothing will happen for a few seconds, but have faith. In a short while the glassy red, juicy beads will start raining down.
  7. Take the other half and squeeze the preposterously pink juices over the warm shredded meat. Take to the table and serve.
  8. What I do with the leftovers is warm a pitta bread in the microwave, and then spread it with a greedy dollop of hummus, then take the chill off the fridged lamb in the microwave (and see notes on cold fat, above) and stuff the already gooey pitta with it. Add freshly chopped mint, black pepper and whatever else you like; raw, finely chopped red onion goes dangerously well.

Additional Information

If it's not the pomegranate season you have a choice: either use pomegranate molasses (a tablespoonful or so, diluted with an equal amount of water) which you can get at some supermarkets now, or just use lemon juice and maybe even a little very finely-grated zest.

If it's not the pomegranate season you have a choice: either use pomegranate molasses (a tablespoonful or so, diluted with an equal amount of water) which you can get at some supermarkets now, or just use lemon juice and maybe even a little very finely-grated zest.

Tell us what you think

What 8 Others have said

  • I made this for a family Christmas gathering and simply went with the suggestion of warm pitta breads and hummus. I doubled the recipe and slow cooked it overnight it our slow cooker. It was very rich and filling, seasonal with a twist. Great for a party as I set up a warm buffet for people to help themselves in the kitchen: pittas, then the slow cooker full of gorgeousness and hummus with a spoon. Our kids all loved it too.

    Posted by megomerrett on 15th September 2014
  • Some are asking what to serve with this delisous recipe, for me I think its a full meal just serve it with green salad or baked potatoes.

    Posted by zebouni on 13th December 2013
  • This recipe is absolutly delish :-) The meat is so melting, tender, tasty ... yum !! I don't bother making the salad anymore we usually just dig straight into the meat.

    Posted by joa2909 on 26th May 2013
  • I serve this with buttery mashed potatoes, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and a rich gravy made with the meat juices to dribble all over the warm meat - delicious and very popular in our family!

    Posted by janetdonnell on 28th March 2013
  • Hello - just wondered what would be good to serve with this for a lunch? Many thanks. H

    Posted by Hillery on 16th January 2012
  • Love this lamb salad and it is so easy to make. A foolproof recipe which has gained me many a compliment. Am almost reluctant to cook lamb any other way. Will make it again this weekend for Sunday lunch.

    Posted by ctg004 on 30th August 2011
  • any suggestions of what to serve with this? (mentions peppers in the recipe but not details) thanks

    Posted by pradey on 29th July 2011
  • I made this for lunch today and used red grapes instead as it is not the season for pomegranate. It turned out really well and my friends just loved it. I will definitely try this again with pomegranate. Thanks for the lovely recipe!

    Posted by zaiton on 2nd June 2011
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