Finally, on to the main course of The Neighborhood Feast: the lamb. I get nervous cooking red meat when I’m feeding several people, so I did a slow cooking method to cover my bases and did it ahead of time (just in case) and this turned out tasty. Inspired by the pomegranate sauce they use in Spice I finally got to use a pomegranate molasses that I bought ages and ages ago. Now that I know how amazing lamb and pomegranate molasses is together, I would do this again in an instant.
This is a simple creation that as usual, I did the prep work the night before, and then just left it in the oven on low throughout the day. It was simple and worked well to serve to a crowd. In fact, as a non-lamb-lover, I actually enjoyed this dish a lot. And the lamb over polenta the next night was a great leftover dinner for friends. I should note however, a few nights later I put the last of the sauce, lamb, and polenta in a big pot and it was like a big polenta soup- not so good, and slightly embarrassing since I was cooking for a boy for the first time. Oops! So, for the leftovers, nevermind trying not to dirty 2 pots, just heat it up and make the polenta separately.
Slow Roasted Lamb in Pomegranate Molasses
6 pounds lamb (approximately 4 shanks and 2-3 large shoulder chops)
5 large garlic cloves
2 stalks celery
2 cups water + 4 cups dry red wine
2 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 large white onion
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350. Brown the lamb in a large pot over medium heat. Brown each side, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Don’t crowd the lamb, so you’ll have to do this in a few batches. As the pieces are brown, set aside in a large roasting pan.
Add 1 cup of red wine to the pan to deglaze any of the brown bits and cook down just for a minute or 2. Strain the liquid directly over the lamb. Add the cumin and a hefty sprinkle of salt and rub into the lamb with your fingers.
Smash the garlic, chop the carrots and celery, and slice the onions into 1/4 inch crescents. Add these vegetables to the roasting pan. Add 2 more cups of wine and the water until it reaches about 2/3 up the lamb. If need be, add more water and or more wine. Cover tightly with foil and roast at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Flip the lamb once, add liquid if necessary, recover, and cook for another 1 1/2 hours.
I did all of this the night prior to the dinner, stuck the roasting pan in the fridge, and called it a night. In the morning, the fat will have risen to the top so it will be easy to scrape off and give to the dogs (lucky girl). Add the molasses to the liquid and place back in the oven at 225 for at least 2-3 more hours. I can’t read my own writing here, so I think that’s it.
When it’s time to serve, the meat should be falling off the bone tender. Add more molasses, salt, and pepper to taste and squeeze a lemon (a couple of teaspoons) into the sauce. Serve.