"Roast lamb is perfect for celebrating spring with friends. Don’t worry about the asparagus losing its colour somewhat – it still tastes wonderful." Stevie Parle
Lamb shoulder stuffed with asparagus pilaf
- Preparation time: 40 minutes
- Cooking time: 240 minutes
- Total time: 4 hours 40 minutes
75g unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 tsp ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick
2 x 230g bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
300g basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
1.25kg boneless lamb shoulder
100ml pomegranate juice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x ½ x 20g pack dill
1 x ½ x 25g pack mint
1 x ½ x 25g pack parsley
2 tsp crushed sumac
6 tbsp Greek yogurt
1. For the pilaf, put the butter in a large pan over a medium heat; fry the onion, 1 tsp allspice and cinnamon for 15 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, chop the asparagus into 3cm pieces, add to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the rice, then add enough boiling water to come 2cm above the level of the rice. Cook over the highest heat for 3 minutes with the lid on, then reduce to the lowest heat for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and leave for 5 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 140˚C, gas mark 1. Cut the string from the lamb and lay, skin-side down, in a roasting tin. Pour over the pomegranate juice, then rub in the remaining allspice and garlic; season. Put half the pilaf into the lamb where the bone would have been, tuck the meat around the rice, tie up with string (or just fold the lamb round fi rmly if you have no string) and turn it over so it is seam-side down.
4. Add 250ml water to the tin and cover loosely with foil. Roast for 3 hours, then discard the foil. Spoon the remaining rice around the meat.
5. Turn the oven up to 200˚C, gas mark 6, and cook for 30 minutes until the rice is hot and the lamb is deep brown. Pull the meat apart with 2 forks and serve, sprinkled with the herbs and sumac, along with spoonfuls of yogurt.