Spring Lamb with Roasted Vegetables
This dish of roasted lamb shoulder with vegetables is all about the beauty of spring, as lambs are born and asparagus, sunchokes and artichokes are at their peak. Choose the best spring produce you can find, roast briefly and arrange around the lamb.
JFE® Note: In Sephardic communities, unlike among Ashkenazic Jews, it is common to eat lamb on Passover. Note that fennel is kitniyot. If you don’t mix meat and fish, omit the anchovies and use a drizzle of olive oil instead, or replace the anchovies with black olives.
- 1 3–3½ pound lamb shoulder roast (ask your butcher to debone it)
- 6 anchovies in oil
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, halved
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup white wine
- Seven or eight hours before you wish to serve the lamb, take the shoulder out of the fridge. Open it on a cutting board to reveal the inner part.
- Using a mortar and pestle, mash the anchovies and spread them over the inner side of the lamb shoulder. In the same mortar, add fennel seeds, cumin seeds and salt, then crush with the pestle. Add ginger, nutmeg and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix. Spread half the mixture on the inner side of the lamb. Arrange the garlic over the meat and sprinkle the lemon zest above. Roll the lamb back to a roast, use toothpicks or kitchen twine to secure the meat in a roll shape.
- Using a sharp knife, score the fat on the top of the lamb in a crisscross pattern at 1-inch intervals. Using your hands, spread the rest of the spice mixture over the lamb and massage the meat. Cover and leave at room temperature for 1½ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven (or another ovensafe pot) just large enough to hold the lamb shoulder. Place the Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. When the oil is smoking put the lamb in, fat side down, and brown for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip to the other side and brown for 4 to 5 minutes longer. Add the white wine and remove from the heat. Cover pot with lid, then wrap pot with two layers of aluminum foil, ensuring the pot is completely sealed.
- Transfer pot to the 325-degree oven for 2½ hours. After one hour, open the pot to make sure there’s still ½ cup to 1 cup of liquid in the pot, and baste the lamb with the liquid. Seal again and return to oven to roast for an additional 2½ hours. The lamb should be very tender, almost falling apart. Take lid off and place uncovered Dutch oven back in oven for 15 minutes to brown the top.
- Transfer the lamb to a large serving platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Chop the lamb to serving size sections and drizzle pan juices on top.
- Arrange roasted veggies around lamb and serve immediately.