Lamb Neck, Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint, & Golden Couscous

A delicous slow-cooked dish from Rachel Allen

Ingredients


  • 1.25 kg (23/4lb) neck of lamb (in the piece)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 15 g (1/2oz) butter, softened
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or finely grated
  • for the yoghurt with cucumber and mint
  • 250 g (9oz) thick natural yoghurt, such as greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cucumber, cut into roughly 1cm (1/2in) cubes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tblsp chopped mint
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • for the golden couscous:
  • 25 g (1oz) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 150 g (5oz) couscous
  • 175 ml (6fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 75 g (3oz) pine nuts, toasted
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F), Gas mark 1.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score the lamb in a grid pattern (forming roughly 2cm/3/4in squares), cutting through the fat, but taking care not to cut into the meat.
  3. Place a small saucepan or frying pan on a high heat and add the coriander and cumin seeds. Cook the seeds, tossing every now and then, for 1–2 minutes or until they have darkened slightly in colour. Tip into a mortar with the salt and peppercorns and crush with a pestle until slightly coarse, or place in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin instead.
  4. Place the lamb in a roasting tin and rub the softened butter all over it. Scatter the spice mix all over the lamb, pressing it in to help it stick to the butter. Place the spice-coated lamb in the oven and cook for about 4 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender and golden brown on the outside.
  5. Just before the lamb is cooked (though the cooked lamb will sit somewhere warm for about an hour), prepare yoghurt with cucumber and mint. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. For the Golden Couscous - Melt the butter in a saucepan on the medium heat, then tip in the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10–15 minutes or until softened and golden. Stir in the turmeric, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, place the couscous in a bowl and rub in the olive oil with your fingertips.
  8. Pour the stock into another saucepan and bring to the boil, then pour over the couscous, cover the bowl with a plate or saucepan lid and allow to sit, somewhere warm, for 5–6 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed the stock.
  9. Stir in the cooked onions, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Carve the lamb into chunks and serve with the yoghurt and cucumber and Golden Couscous.




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