Pomegranate Lamb Shoulder
Smoked lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses is one of the most impressive pieces of smoked meat I’ve eaten. The credit goes to chef Michael Solomonov, as it’s the signature recipe from his restaurant Zahav. After I tasted the dish at a book release dinner years ago, I knew I had to try my hand at it.
It’s pretty simple to make, but it does take some time and attention, as well as a smoker. You start out by brining a whole lamb or goat shoulder, then smoking it. After smoking, you bake the shoulder with water, pomegranate molasses and chickpeas until the juices get thick and syrupy, continually basting the meat with the juices as it cooks. When the lamb gets tender, I transfer it to a burner to finish the glaze, which becomes a sort of smoky, sweet and sour, shining lacquer. It’s a fantastic dish that will impress friends and family when it’s brought to the table.
This recipe is by Chef Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora, he’s one of the most respected voices in the world of foraging and wild food. He’s best known as the founder of Forager Chef, his website focused on wild ingredients that reaches millions of readers each year. Learn more about Chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at foragerchef.com.
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Smoked Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranite Molasses
- 1 whole lamb shoulder bone in, roughly 3 pounds
- 3 qts water
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1 head of garlic halved
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon allspice berries
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
- 6 cups water
- 6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- Combine the ingredients for the brine, bring to a boil, then cool.
- Put the lamb shoulder in a vessel large enough to accommodate it and the brine to cover, put on a lid and refrigerate for 12-48 hours.
- Remove the lamb, pat dry, and smoke at 225F for 2 hours.
Baking and finishing
- Remove the lamb shoulder from the smoker.
- Preheat an oven to 350F. Mix the pomegranate molasses, water, and chickpeas, add to a pan with the shoulder, cover and bake for 3 hours or until the meat moves easily from the bone.
- Remove lid, increase the heat to 450F, and start to baste the lamb with the juices until the liquid becomes thick and syrupy. If the lamb threatens to get dark, take the pan out and put it on the stove to reduce some of the liquid.
- Keep in mind that part of why the glaze is so delicious is that the heat of the oven caramelizes the top of the meat, so return it to the oven (turn the heat down to 400 F if you need) and continue basting until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Once the lamb is glazed and irresistible, remove it to a serving dish, topping it with any remaining juices and the chickpeas, and serve with rice and a green salad of lightly cooked, wilted greens.