Recipe: Buttermilk brined lamb shoulder

Buttermilk brined lamb shoulder. Photo: Duy Dash
FIFTY+SA Food Editor Mandy Hall shares her best-of lamb shoulder recipe. A celebration dish, best served with friends.

This recipe is sort of like my best-of. It’s a combination of all the great and hugely flavoursome lamb shoulder dishes I have eaten and made over the years, it’s an epic entertainer.

Don’t let the list of ingredients make you think twice. It’s a simple recipe that is bursting with flavour, not too much effort and  a lot of impressed guests.

  • 2 kg lamb shoulder (bone-in)
  • 300ml Buttermilk
  • 3TB salt
  • 80 ml Olive Oil
  • 5 green Chilli – I have used long, mild chillies for this recipe
  • 2TB Smoked Paprika
  • 2TB Coriander Seeds – slightly crushed
  • 3TB ground Cumin 
  • 1.5 TB Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 bunch each of fresh green herbs, I have used parsley, thyme & a small amount of sage 
  • 8 Golden Shallots – peeled and halved.
  • 125g Woodside Cheese Wright’s Goat Curd
  • Pomegranate Arils
  • 1/2 bunch Mint – chopped 
  • 1/2 bunch Coriander – chopped

In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients (except the shallots) together and let sit for 10 

minutes, find a snaplock bag or covered container large enough to contain the shoulder, place the shoulder in the container and pour over the marinade, making sure you cover and rub it over the lamb completely. Place the lamb in the fridge for 24-36 hours and turn it over, at least twice, more often if you think of it.

When the lamb has fully marinated, remove it from the fridge, preheat your oven to 180C.

Tear off a 60cm (rough guide) piece of baking and two sheets of foil, each around 80cms.

Lay the foil on your bench, overlap the two pieces in the centre so that you have an extra-wide, strong foil base, place the sheet of baking paper down, arrange the shallots in the centre of the baking paper, remove the lamb from the container and place on top of the shallots, pour over most of the residual marinade. 

Start by blanketing the lamb with the layer of baking paper, then using the foil, wrap and enclose the shoulder tightly. Place on a tray and into the oven to bake for 3 hours – you will know it’s done when you insert a fork through the foil and into the lamb, twist the fork if there’s no resistance from the lamb, it’s ready to go. Increase the heat to 200 C, unwrap the foil and paper to expose the top 2/3rds of the lamb and place back in the oven for 10 -15 minutes to brown. Remove and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Whilst the lamb is resting, chop your herbs, get your arils and a large serving platter ready.

Place the lamb & the cooked shallots on the platter, top with fresh herbs, pomegranate, and finally, the curd, serve immediately.

We suggest serving with a very simple green salad and perhaps some potatoes made just the way you like them, after all, it’s your dish now!

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