This is my absolute favourite way of cooking the shoulder or gigot of mutton. Whilst the recipe calls for several spices, what you end up with is a delicately flavoured joint that you can pull into pieces with a pair of forks and pour the juices over. Simply delicious.
Merguez Spiced Shoulder (or Gigot) Of Mutton
Merguez is a spice mix from North Africa that has been around since the 12th Century. Whilst we can't claim that this adaptation is entirely true to it's origins, it is extremely delicious nonetheless.
- 1 shoulder or gigot of mutton
For the spice mix:
- 1 tspn cumin seeds
- 1 tspn coriander seeds
- 1 tspn fennel seeds
- 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken up
- 1 tspn black peppercorns
- 1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
- 2 large tspns sweet smoked paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 2 tspns sea salt
- 5 tbspns olive oil
- In a dry frying pan lightly toast the cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and peppercorns for about a minute, or until fragrant.
- Grind in a spice grinder, or crush until the spices are a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar
- Mix the above spices with all the other spice ingredients
- With a sharp knife score the meat all over, including the underside, making shallow cuts about 2cm apart
- Rub about half the mixture on all sides of the joint
- Place in a roasting tray and cook, uncovered, at 200 degrees fan for 30 minutes
- Remove from the oven and with a spoon rub the remaining spices over the top of the meat
- Pour a mug full of water into the bottom of the pan (take care not to wash the spices off the meat)
- Cover tightly with foil and return to the oven now set at 120 degrees fan and cook for 5 - 6 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. You might need to add more water after a few hours to ensure there are juices at the end of the cooking time
- Remove the meat and keep warm, then pour the juices into a clear jug
- The fat and meat juices will start to separate. Spoon off the fat, reserving the meat juices
- Fork the meat into strips and place on a large plate or platter
- Gently reheat the juices and pour over the meat.
Serve with potatoes and veg of your choice, or with a warm rice salad comprised of roasted vegetables, warm rice and a few drizzles of harissa spice. The warm rice salad, also served heaped onto a platter, looks great on the table next to the platter of sumptuous meat. A feast for the eyes as well as the appetite!