Braised Lamb Shoulder with Tomatoes

Basmati rice flavoured with raisins, allspice and cinnamon is the perfect accompaniment. Okra is in season right now and roasted okra (10 minutes at 350 F) is terrific with this, too. Otherwise steamed Swiss chard gives a bright burst of colour. My Tunisian friend says that she would include a chopped tomato and cucumber salad with green onions. Carving lamb shoulder can be problematic, but this is so tender it falls off the bone.

Servings: 8


  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 lb (1.75 kg) lamb shoulder
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 lb (500 g) fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • Preheat oven to 275 F.


Combine coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, paprika and dried mint. Reserve 2 tbsp of spice mixture, and combine the remainder with 2 tbsp olive oil. Rub all over the meat.

Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add lamb and brown well all over, about 8 minutes in total. Remove to a large ovenproof pot. Add onions and carrots to skillet and sauté together for 4 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add remaining spice mixture to vegetables and toss together. Add tomatoes, stock and pomegranate molasses and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour sauce over lamb in pot. Cover and bake for 3 1/2 hours. Remove lid and continue to cook until meat is fork tender, about 30 more minutes.

Remove lamb to a carving board and skim fat off the sauce. If sauce is too thin, bring to a boil on the stovetop and cook until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. Carve the meat and serve with the sauce.