I really like lamb with lots of spices and herbs. This is a Chinese inspired lamb dish with Sichuan pepper for a subtle numbing heat. I usually go easy on the chilli flakes so the kids can eat it and then just serve it with chilli sauce on the side. I’m a fan of crisp chilli sauce which you can find at Asian supermarkets.
1 leg of lamb – mine was about 2kg, you could also use bone lamb shoulder, it might need an extra hour.
6 cloves garlic, finely grated
4cm ginger, finely grated
1 T fennel seeds
1 T cumin seeds
2 T Sichuan peppercorns
½-1 tsp chilli flakes (optional – you can always add chilli sauce at the end)
1 tsp salt
1 T sesame oil
2 T olive oil
3 cups boiling water
Half a cup of dried sliced shiitake mushrooms – about 15g
4 T soy or tamari
4 T black vinegar
1 T maple syrup
3 T hoisen sauce
1 onion, sliced
400-500g assorted mushrooms, I used portabello, shiitake and oyster and button
Toasted sesame seeds, coriander and mint leaves and chilli sauce to serve
Lightly toast the whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind roughly and add the ginger, garlic and salt and oils to form a paste. Place the lamb in a roasting tray and prick the lamb with a sharp knife and then rub the spice mix all over. This can be done up to a day in advance.
Place in a 180 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the outside has browned.
Meanwhile, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in the boiling water for 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Remove the lamb from the oven after 20 minutes and pour in the sauce and the sliced onion and then cover with baking paper and foil (or a tight fitting lid). Turn the temp down to 150 and cook for 4 hours.
After 3 hours, brown the mushrooms in a pan with oil and butter and add them in with the lamb. Cook for a further hour. Remove the foil and cook for 20-30 more minutes to crispy up the skin again. Make sure the liquid doesn’t reduce too much. Remove from the oven and then rest, covered for 30-45 minutes.
Break up the lamb with tongs or a fork, it should easily come off the bone. Top with toasted sesame seeds and herbs. If cooking a bone in shoulder it may take a little longer, depending on size. You want it spoon tender.
Serve with rice and greens, making sure you get plenty of the juices. Extra chilli sauce, sesame and coriander on the side. It is also delicious with noodles.