Moroccan Steamed Lamb with Cumin

Words cannot begin to explain how sublime this was. Tender, juicy, tasty meat falling off the bone with absolutely no fight. This dish was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever cooked – and it was incredibly simple. Steaming isn’t a method of cooking I would associate with meat, but it sure is an effective one. The meat keeps all of it’s flavour, and slowly gives up the fight to become so tender you can cut it with a spoon. I was impressed no end and the appreciative moans and groans around the table seemed to agree. It’s a perfect dinner party dish that needs very little attention while cooking and it’s guaranteed to keep your guests quiet for a while.

1.25kg lamb shoulder (on the bone)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
10 threads saffron (crumbled)
handful fresh parsley (with stalks)
6 cloves garlic (skin on)
2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

Trim the lamb of its top layer of skin and fat. Stab a few incisions with a knife. Mix together the salt, cumin and saffron then rub it into the flesh, pushing into the incisions. Cover the meat and leave for 30 minutes.

Fill the bottom part of a large steamer pan with at least 400ml water. Not enough to reach the contents of the steamer tray. Arrange the parsley in a layer on the bottom of the steamer tray with 3 cloves garlic. Place the meat on top, then the remaining garlic on top. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to very low – just enough to have the water lightly simmering. Mould kitchen foil around the rim of the pan and then press the lid on securely to stop any steam escaping. Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Check the water levels occasionally but keep the meat covered for at least 1 1/2 hours before checking it. It should be very tender.

Heat a large frying pan with the butter and when hot carefully place the lamb in the pan and cook for 2 minutes each side to crispen up and brown the outside. Serve immediately.

Serve alongside a mixture of 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, for your guests to sprinkle over the meat as they wish. Serve with vegetables, salad etc. It was great just flaked on some bread too.

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