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Slow cooker spice-honey lamb shoulder with jewelled rice

Slow cooker spice-honey lamb shoulder with jewelled rice


1 x 2.2 kg lamb shoulder, excess fat trimmed

2 tbsp foodies extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, cut into wedges

300ml chicken stock

3 tsp baharat*

4 garlic cloves, finely grated or chopped

60ml (¼ cup) honey

2 tsp each foodies flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar, or to taste

green salad, to serve

Jewelled rice

300g (1½ cups) basmati rice

30g butter or ghee

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely grated or chopped

1 fresh bay leaf

1 tsp ground turmeric

560ml (2¼ cups) chicken stock

55g (⅓ cup) dried sweetened cranberries

55g (⅓ cup) currants

1-2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)

80g (½ cup) coarsely chopped blanched almonds, toasted

Use a sharp knife to score 2.5cm diamonds into the top side of the shoulder. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frypan over medium-high heat, then cook the shoulder, scored side down, for 7-8 minutes or until well browned. Turn, then cook for another 5 minutes to seal the other side. Alternatively, if your slow-cooker has a hob-proof cooking insert, use that to sear.

Meanwhile, scatter the onion over the base of the slow cooker insert and pour in the stock. Place the shoulder on top, scored side up, then rub over the baharat and garlic. Season well with the salt and pepper, then drizzle over the honey. Cover, then cook the lamb for 8 hours on low, or 6 hours on medium. Carefully remove the lamb from the cooker and strain off the cooking liquid into a jug. Discard the onion. Return the lamb to the cooker, then cover and keep warm. Allow the fat to rise to the top of the cooking liquid, then skim it off and discard it. Pour the liquid into a saucepan, add the vinegar, then bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 6 minutes or until it has reduced and thickened a little.

Meanwhile, for the rice, rinse the rice and drain well. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and bay leaf, then cook, stirring, for 6-7 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the rice and turmeric and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant and the rice is coated. Add the stock, cranberries and currants, bring to a simmer, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 12 minutes without lifting the lid, then remove the pan from the heat and stand, covered, for 10 minutes for the rice to finish steaming. Stir in the lemon zest, if using, and the almonds. Serve the rice with the lamb, with the reduced cooking liquid poured over, and a crisp, fresh salad of your choosing. 

* Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend suitable for lamb, fish, chicken and beef.

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