I think this is my favorite casserole in this book. I like to use lamb shoulder, because it has excellent flavor, it’s moist and there is just the perfect amount of fat needed for it to be tasty—ask a butcher to trim down the fat if there is too much. I’m pairing it with pomegranate molasses, which is a reduction of pomegranate juice that’s taken right down to a thick, syrupy liquid. It’s slightly tangy with a delicate sweetand- sour accent. Just imagine the aromas in your kitchen when this casserole has been cooking for a couple of hours. Your guests will be wondering and asking questions. Make them wait a little longer, however, until they taste the casserole, when all will be revealed. Then you can tell them that the secret ingredient fraternizing with the lamb is pomegranate molasses, which lifts this humble, inexpensive cut to new heights.
– PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes.
– COOKING TIME 2½ hours.
– 1 tablespoon unsalted butter.
– 2 tablespoons sunflower oil.
– 1 onion, roughly chopped.
– 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped.
– 2¼ pounds boneless shoulder or neck of lamb, cut into large cubes.
– 2 cups Lamb Stock or Chicken Stock.
– 1 rosemary sprig.
– 1 handful good-quality pitted ripe olives.
– 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses.
– grated zest of 1 lemon.
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– Creamed Mashed Potatoes, to serve.
Step 2: Turn the heat up to high. Add the lamb and sauté 12 to 15 minutes until brown on all sides. Add the stock and rosemary and bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid without closing it completely—you just want a little gap so the condensation does not produce too much liquid—and simmer over very low heat 1¾ hours, making sure the liquid is just shimmering but not bubbling.
Step 3: Check that the lamb is very tender and the liquid has reduced by about half, but no more. If not, continue cooking 15 minutes longer and check again. Add the olives and pomegranate molasses and cook 10 minutes longer, or until the sauce is shiny. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with deliciously creamy mashed potato.