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As you might imagine, The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats from husband and wife butchers Joshua and Jessica Applestone is not a very salad-y sort of book. This Warm Lamb Salad with Pomegranate is the exception, bringing together hearty braised lamb shoulder with tart pomegranate, peppery arugula, and salty, creamy feta.
According to the authors, lamb shoulder is a shamefully underutilized cut, and after braising one to lamby, falling apart tenderness, I agree wholeheartedly. It's that great sort of "sear, stick in the oven, and forget about it" kind of cut that has the same meltingness as great pulled pork.
Totally incredible on its own? For sure. But when left to cool just slightly and served over a bed of greens with crunchy-tart pomegranate seeds, cool mint leaves, pine nuts, feta, and a drizzle of pomegranate juice or molasses? Downright unbelievable. The rich lamb mixes with the pomegranate juice, dressing and wilting the greens ever so slightly, making for the sort of rib-stickingly, meal-worthy salad that could only come from a butcher shop.
Reprinted with permission from The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats by Joshua and Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu, copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
- 1 (5-pound) boneless lamb shoulder, cleaned and tied
- 4 shallots, unpeeled, halved
- 6 garlic cloves
- Coarse sea salt
- 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade), or half lamb and half chicken stock
- 2 heads arugula or watercress
- Small handful of chopped fresh mint
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or POM juice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (optional)
- 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Pita bread, warmed, for serving
- Note: This recipe can also be made with anything braisable, like shanks or country-style ribs.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Heat a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown ion all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the lamb to a platter. Add the shallots and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until they are soft and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt to the pot, then pour in the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Return the lamb to the pot, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Roast the lamb for about 5 hours, until the lamb is literally falling apart. Take the lamb out of the oven and let it cool in the pot.
About an hour before you want to eat, take the lamb out of the pot. Cut and remove the twine. Remove as much of the fat as possible and shred the meat into uniform pieces with two forks.
Put the arugula on a platter and put the shredded lamb on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and the chopped mint. Cut the pomegranate in half. Hold one pomegranate half above the plate and hit the back of it with a wooden spoon to knock out the seeds.
Take the other half of the pomegranate and squeeze its juice over the salad. If you want a juicier, stronger, fruitier salad, add a couple of tablespoons of pomegranate molasses. Scatter the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese over the top, if desired.
Serve the salad while the lamb is still warm (cold lamb fat congeals unappetizingly), with warmed pita on the side.