This recipe was originally a wild idea I had where I looked at my spice cupboard, which to my wife’s despair must have over 25 spices and herbs, and thought how many of these can I use. I’ve named after the legendary Silk Road which transported to Europe the treasures of China and India via Persia. The spice rub takes aspects from all. It’s earthly, sweet, spicy and savoury all the while maintaining a balance.
Apart from the spice mix this dish is really simple. Make the spice rub the night before and then on the day you are really just waiting for it to cook. Perfect for when you have guests and you need something you don’t want too pay much attention to. The very low cooking temperature is for a reason. We want to slowly cook the lamb allowing it to retain as much moisture as possible and slowly become tender. It is beneficial to use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is keeping the right temperature. Some ovens can struggle managing this low heat. After slow cooking on low heat the short burst of high heat crisps up the lamb giving it a texture you would expect from smoking. A perfect contrast of textures.
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
1-1.5 kg lamb shoulder
- 1 tablespoon of corrainder seed
- 1/2 teaspoon of pink peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon of nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1. Prepare the spice blend by placing all the unground ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grinding until smooth. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and put these in the mix, leaving the green skins.
2. Add the remaining spices, salt and sugar. Mix well.
3. Take the lamb shoulder and evenly coat with your spice rub. Place on a sufficiently sized roasting tin, cover with tin foil.
4. Place in an oven at 120 degrees Celsius for 3 and a half hours.
5. Remove the tin foil and increase the heat to 210 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven. Wrap in grease proof paper and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes, then serve.