© David Loftus
mechoui lamb with carrot and orange salad
I’m really proud of this beautiful dish. I’m not sure what the mechoui man I met in the market in Marrakesh would make of it, but I like to think I’m respecting the way he cooks, by using local ingredients, and linking it back with touches like the carrot and orange salad. What’s great is that you can easily make this dish at home and totally get that authentic taste of Morocco. The only thing you might not be able to get hold of is smen, a type of fermented butter, but the normal stuff will work just fine.
Preheat your oven to full whack. Place the lamb shoulder in a large roasting tray, skin side up. Rub your smen or butter all over the meat until completely covered, then sprinkle over your cumin and coriander. Pound your salt and thyme leaves in a pestle and mortar and rub all those flavours all over the lamb, along with the rosemary leaves and a few good pinches of pepper.
Smash your garlic bulb open, separate the cloves and push them into the butter on the lamb. Pour around 100mls of water into the bottom of the tray and snugly cover the lamb with a double layer of foil. Put the tray into your hot oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. You’ll need to cook a shoulder this size for around 3 hours in total. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking. When the skin is nice and crisp and the meat is falling off the bone and deliciously tender it's ready.
Leave to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, covered loosely with the foil. While it’s resting, make the salad. Using a speed peeler or mandolin, or the grater or julienne cutter of your food processor if you've got one, shred your carrots as finely as possible into a bowl. Dress them with the orange juice, a good lug of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, the mint leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper, then toss and take to the table or divide between your plates.
Use forks to shred the lamb. Warm your flatbreads in the oven or a hot dry pan for 30 seconds or so on each side until warm and soft, then sort of scrunch each one into a rough cone shape, like in the picture. Lift up the top pocket so you can stuff in some lamb, and top with a few pomegranate seeds. Dollop some yoghurt on the side of the plate, drizzle with a little harissa and a pinch of cumin and coriander and you’ve got a killer meal.
• from Jamie does...
• 1 shoulder of lamb (approximately 2.5kg)
• 50g smen or butter, at room temperature
• 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin, plus extra to serve
• 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander, plus extra to serve
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
• a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1 bulb of garlic
• 4 flatbreads
• seeds from ½ a pomegranate
• 250g Greek yoghurt
• 4 tablespoons harissa