Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with cashew nut and caramelised onion gravy

You’ll need to start this recipe the day before you want to eat it, but the subtly smoked, meltingly tender lamb is so worth the effort.


For the marinade
For the lamb shoulder
For the stock
For the gravy
For the tamarind chutney
For the pumpkin and lentil curry
For the aubergine bhartha
For the nigella-scented cauliflower
For the Parsi-style biryani
For the garnish

Preparation method

  1. For the lamb shoulder, line a large pan with a tight- fitting lid (it must be big enough to fit the lamb shoulder) with two layers of aluminium foil.

  2. For the marinade, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour the mixture into the pan.

  3. Place the onions, tomato and lamb bones into the pan and place the shoulder on top.

  4. Place the cloves and cardamom into a small metal bowl of burning charcoal (it’s best to prepare the charcoal outside on a barbecue) and place the pot on top of the lamb in the pan. Drop the ghee onto the charcoal and put on the lid so no smoke can escape. Leave to smoke for one hour. Remove the charcoal bowl and discard. (CAUTION: smoking generates a great deal of smoke. Open the windows and get as much ventilation as you can. Open the lid outdoors if possible.)

  5. Remove the metal bowl from the pan. Spoon out one tablespoon of the marinade and set aside. Rub the remaining marinade over the lamb and set aside to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours.

  6. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  7. Transfer the contents of the pan to a large roasting tray and add the coriander stalks, dried chilli and shallots. Pour in the yoghurt and enough boiling water to cover the shoulder, cover the tray with aluminium foil and roast in the oven for four hours.

  8. Remove the lamb from the roasting tray, reserving the contents, and place it onto another roasting tray. Mix two tablespoons of oil from the reserved roasting tray with the reserved marinade and smear it over the lamb. Return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest.

  9. Meanwhile, for the stock, heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the green cardamom, cassia leaves and bark, cloves and peppercorns and fry for one minute. Add the onions with a sprinkle of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the lamb leg bones and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, or until browned.

  10. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further two hours. Strain the stock through a sieve, then remove the bone marrow from the bones and stir it into the stock.

  11. To make the gravy, strain the contents of the reserved roasting tray through a sieve into a saucepan, making sure you extract the bone marrow from the bones. Boil the strained stock until the volume of the liquid has reduced by one-third.

  12. Blend the onion flakes, cashews and yoghurt in a blender until smooth.

  13. Pour 700ml/1¼ pints of the reduced stock into a saucepan and whisk in two tablespoons of the cashew paste. Season, to taste, with salt.

  14. Meanwhile, for the tamarind chutney, place the tamarind, ginger and jaggery in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 30 minutes. Pass the mixture through a sieve, discarding the pulp. Stir in the cornflour and add more jaggery, to taste. Set aside to cool.

  15. For the pumpkin and lentil curry, heat the oil in a saucepan, add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cassia, cardamom and dried chillies and fry for one minute. Add the garlic, ginger and onions, sprinkle with salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

  16. Add the turmeric, chilli powder and one tablespoon of water and cook for a further minute.

  17. Add the oily toor dal and 300ml/7fl oz boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the red and yellow lentils and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin and tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft.

  18. Stir in three tablespoons of the tamarind chutney and lime juice and season, to taste, with salt. Stir in the coriander, butter, dried onions and the lemon oil (or a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil).

  19. For the aubergine bhartha, preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas 4.

  20. Place the garlic in a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown. Reduce the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 then roast the whole aubergines for 20 minutes. Carefully peel the aubergines and place into a bowl, squeeze in the roasted garlic and mash together.

  21. Heat oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and the chopped onion, sprinkle with salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is golden-brown. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, chilli flakes and one tablespoon of water and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Stir in the mashed aubergine and chopped tomatoes.

  22. Stir in the yoghurt and amchoor powder and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the red onion, coriander and lemon juice and season, to taste, with salt.

  23. For the nigella-scented cauliflower, cook the cauliflower florets in a pan of salted boiling water with a pinch of the turmeric for 3-4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.

  24. Heat the oil in a lidded frying pan, add the nigella seeds, onions and a generous sprinkle of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions have softened. Stir in the remaining turmeric, Madras powder and cauliflower florets. Add one tablespoon of water, cover with the lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

  25. For the Parsi-style biryani, preheat the oven to 120C/250F/gas ½.

  26. Heat the ghee in a oven-proof casserole, add the cassia bark and leaves, shahi jeera and black cardamom and fry for 30 seconds, then add the onion and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.

  27. Drain the rice, then stir it into the spices. Cover with the stock until it is 1cm/½in higher than the level of the rice. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

  28. Spoon the rice into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the coriander and lime juice.

  29. Meanwhile, place the flour into a bowl with enough cold water to make a thick dough. Roll the dough out into a circle that is just bigger than the rim of the casserole. Seal the pot with the dough and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

  30. For the garnish, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the shallots with a drizzle of honey for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown and caramelised.

  31. Heat 1cm/½in vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the curry leaves for 30 seconds, or until crisp. Remove the leaves from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

  32. To serve, transfer the lamb to a serving platter, sprinkle with the fried curry leaves and fried shallots and garnish with the lemon and lime quarters. Spoon the aubergines, cauliflower and lentil curry in separate serving bowls and serve the biryani alongside.

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Great British Menu 20. Central Judging bbc_two Great British Menu

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