Slow-cooked lamb with tahini yoghurt

This is a really tasty way to cook lamb shoulder so that it falls off the bone. I like to serve it with couscous or rice. A good dollop of harissa for extra spice doesn't go astray, either. At this time of year, a fennel and orange salad is perfect with the lamb dish.


  • 2 x 1.25kg lamb shoulders
  • 2 roasted red capsicums, peeled, seeded
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 4-8 store-bought flatbreads (Lebanese bread, roti or naan), depending on size seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves
  • ½ bunch mint leaves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chardonnay vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  • For the marinade
  • 1½ cups Greek yoghurt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 80g ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
  • 40g cumin powder
  • ½ cup olive oil

  • For the tahini yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup Greek yoghurt
  • ¼ cup tahini

  • For the pickling liquid
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2½ cups white wine vinegar
  • 2½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 2½ tbsp table salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds


Mix marinade ingredients, rub over lamb, then refrigerate at least overnight.

Remove lamb from fridge one hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 130°C.

Place lamb in a roasting dish with 200ml water. Cover with foil and cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Reduce heat to 110°C and cook for another 1 1/2-2 hours. Add water if needed.

For the yoghurt: heat oil in a frying pan on a low heat. Add garlic and oregano and fry until garlic is golden, then add lemon juice to stop cooking process. Place mixture in a bowl with yoghurt and tahini and season to taste. Combine with a little water until it has a dolloping consistency.

For the pickling liquid: bring all the ingredients to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut capsicum into bite-sized pieces. Cover with hot brine and allow to cool.

Cut cucumbers lengthways and slice into bite-sized chunks. Submerge in pickling liquid for at least one hour. Drain well.

Warm the flatbread in the oven.

Place capsicum, cucumber, pomegranate seeds, coriander, mint leaves and pieces of warm flatbread in a large mixing bowl. Dress with oil and vinegar and season.

Serve lamb warm from the oven (it will be tender enough to pull away using just a fork). Serve with tahini yoghurt and a salad.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
The 2011 Bernard Baudry Cabernet Franc, from Chinon in France's Loire Valley, boasts aromatics ranging from herbal notes to green bell peppers and a palate of intense dark-blue fruits and gamey notes. The result is a wine that works really well with the lamb.

First published in the Good Weekend.

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