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Sweet Shredded Honey Lamb with Raisins and Almonds over Couscous

Sweet Shredded Honey Lamb with Raisins and Almonds over Couscous Related:   Israel & Middle East, kid-friendly, meat, Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat, Sukkot

Prep time: 1 hour + 6 hours–overnight marinating

Cook time: 3 hours

Yield: 4–6 servings

What’s Rosh Hashanah without a show-stopping dish? You need that center-of-the-table wow factor. That’s when it really feels like a holiday! Honey and lamb go hand in hand. I use ras al hanout in this recipe, but instead of having you go out to try to find this fairly rare spice blend, I’ve broken it down so you can use the spices you already have. Marinating the lamb allows those spices to penetrate the meat. It’s not very traditional to shred it, but I really like the idea of taking the work out of slicing a large piece of lamb. Placing the shredded lamb back into the sauce coats every inch of it with sticky sweetness, too. It’s a win-win, really.

Ingredients

  • Lamb
  • 1 4-pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and tied as a roast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, grated
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • Couscous
  • 1½ cups couscous
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preparation

  • Place the tied lamb into a zip-top bag and place the bag into a deep bowl. Combine the water and all the spices and pour it over the lamb. Seal the bag and marinate it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or even better, overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the lamb from the marinade. Do not discard the marinade! Pat the lamb dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the canola oil in an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb on all sides until nicely browned, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the lamb to a plate. Add the grated onion to the pot. Stir and cook for 3 minutes to soften the onion. Add the lamb back into the pot with any accumulated juices. Add the raisins and pour the marinade over the lamb. Add enough water to just cover the lamb. Bring to a boil, cover and braise in the lower third of the oven for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium heat, tossing, until golden, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  • Once cool enough to handle, gently transfer the lamb to a plate and cover with tinfoil. Skim off as much of the fat that has accumulated on the surface of the sauce using a spoon or fat separator as possible. Discard the fat. Stir in the honey and almonds and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce until the sauce is thick. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if needed.
  • Remove the butcher’s twine from the lamb and shred using your hands or two forks. Discard any fat, tendons or cartilage that wouldn’t be palatable. Fold the shredded lamb back into the sauce.
  • Place the couscous in a large heatproof bowl along with the olive oil and salt. Cover with the boiling water and wrap tightly with plastic wrap immediately. Let the couscous absorb the water for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous and stir in the chopped parsley.
  • Plate the couscous on the serving dish or dishes, top with the shredded lamb and sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Reprinted with permission from Modern Israeli Cooking: 100 New Recipes for Traditional Classics by Danielle Oron (Page Street Publishing Co., 2015). 

6 Responses

  1. Judith Schwartz says:

    Sounds delicious, but leg of lamb? Since when is that kosher? Maybe it can be bought in Israel with the proper preparation, but I doubt I could find it here.

    • Merav Levkowitz Merav Levkowitz says:

      Hi Judith,
      Thanks for your comment. Check out this article. In the DC area, Moti’s Market has many different cuts of kosher lamb and may have leg of lamb as well. If not, you can also try with meat, like brisket. L’shanah tovah!

  2. wendy block says:

    Has anyone made this in a slow cooker?

  3. Harley says:

    I have 3 pounds of lamb shoulder. I assume that will work?

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