The Zahav Lamb Shoulder

Brining and low, slow heat: the secrets to getting tender, melt-in-your mouth lamb. This one's a showstopper from Chef Solomonov's own restaurant, Zahav. (Plan ahead: The lamb requires 48 hours of brining, and the chickpeas need an overnight soak.)
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 days
  • Active: 6 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon allspice berries

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 head garlic, unpeeled, but pulled apart into cloves

5 pounds lamb shoulder, bone-in and square-cut, "square-cut" means without the shank end

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water, with 1 tsp baking soda

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup pomegranate molasses, available at Middle Eastern specialty stores or online

Garnish

Fresh parsley

Fresh mint

Directions

  1. In a large pot, combine the salt, sugar, allspice, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and garlic in 2 quarts water. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and allow the brine to cool completely.
  2. Place the lamb into the cooled brine. (If it’s floating or not submerged enough, cover the lamb with a clean cloth that's saturated in the brine.) Cover with lid and refrigerate the lamb shoulder in the brine overnight or up to 48 hours.
  3. Turn your oven's broiler on. Place a rack on a baking sheet. Drain the lamb and pat dry, wiping off solids from the brine. Put the lamb on the rack and broil until well browned, about 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare the roasting pan: Drain soaked chickpeas and place in the roasting pan, along with 2 quarts of water and the pomegranate molasses. Remove lamb shoulder from the oven; turn off the broiler and set the oven to 325 degrees F. Lay the lamb shoulder in the roasting pan, skin side up. (The liquid should come about halfway up the shoulder; add water if needed.) Place a sheet of parchment paper over the lamb and cover the pan tightly with several layers of foil. Braise in the oven about 5 hours, basting every hour.
  5. After 5 hours, remove the foil and parchment from the lamb and baste again. Raise heat to 475 degrees F, and place lamb back in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven when the lamb is deeply glazed and the liquid has reduced. Baste again with the juices and garnish with torn parsley and mint. Place in a serving dish, cover with juices and chickpeas, and serve family-style.