I bought a massive piece of lamb shoulder (1.9 Kg) from the local butchers and while thinking of the best way to cook this lamb (I was on holiday, so I had time on my hands) , remembered the juicy lamb I had at Mechoui alley in Morocco. This eatery was adorned with clay pots filled with lamb and tables covered by a whole roast lamb. The aromas of lamb and freshly baked bread made me drool soo much I ordered and tried to devour a kilogram of meat with Elisha and failed miserably. I snapped out of the Morocco memories and decided cooking lamb in a clay pot was the best way to appreciate all the lamb has to offer. Here goes my recipe.
Who knew cleaning a clay pot would take almost a week.
I walked to a Turkish shop down the road and bought a clay pot called a Guvec for £17. I found out that Guvecs were also used in other countries for meat and fish casseroles etc , albeit under a different name: Bulgaria ( Gyuvech ) and Bosnia ( Duvec ). I washed the pot in water as per the instructions but it still smelled heavily of clay. I googled what to do next and nearly gasped in despair. 3 – 5 days to clean and season a pot. What in the world is this madness. The washing , seasoning and cooking actually took 5 days during which I had to listen to Elisha sing Craig David’s 7 days ” I bought lamb on Friday, went to buy a Guvec on Saturday, washed the pot on Sunday, and on Monday, Tuesday , Wednesday, finally ate on Thursday”. Painful.
To clean and season the pot, immerse in water for 2 days, add rice water for another 2 days, rinse, dry and oil the pot.
Rose Harissa paste , Chicken seasoning and Lamb has to be a match made in heaven
Mix chicken stock cube, 1 tsp of Paprika, 1 tsp of chilli flakes, black peppercorn , salt , 3 tbs of olive oil and 1 tbs of sesame oil in a bowl. Rub all over the meat.
Pour 4 tbs of the Belazu Rose Harissa paste on the meat . I found this on an aisle in Tesco.
Massage and rub paste all over the meat . I think have watched too much Nigella.
Cooking lamb in a clay pot
Dice 1/2 a carrot , 1/2 Egg plant , 1 potato and sweet potato (not thinly diced) , 1 onion, 1/2 red peppers, 2 chillies, 3 garlic cloves, 2 chillies, 1 tomato and thyme. You also need 200ml of chicken stock (I buy mine from Tesco) and 1 chicken stock cube. The chicken stock comes in a 450 ml packet, so make sure you save the rest for a Tagine dish.
Soak your pot in water for 15 minutes and give a wipe. Pan fry a few slices of onions , let it cool, pour in the clay pot and smear on the inner walls. Place your lamb on top of the onions and layer the rest of your diced vegetables on top.
Pour 200 ml of Tesco’s finest chicken stock on the lamb and sprinkle a chicken cube over the pot and cover it.
Key Tips : Do not preheat the oven as your pot might crack due to the quick change in temperatures (Room temp to Oven temp). Simply place your pot in the oven , crank it up to 100c first , then after 15 mins crank it to 150 , give another 10 mins and crank it to 190c. Let it cook for 3 hours, dial the heat down to 150c. After 10 mins dial it down to 100c and after another 10 mins switch it off. If you want the meat to brown a bit more, you can open the lid prior to lowering the heat. I didn’t do this however. Get the pot out of the oven and place on a wooden board
Open the pot and admire your handiwork 3 hours and 45 mins later.
The aromas on opening the pot really brought a smile to my face. Just look at that juiciness right.
It was quite late, so I just poured the contents into a small bowl and tasted one of the best dishes I have ever cooked. The meat and vegetables was mouthwateringly delicious. What a relief and well worth the wait.
I emptied the clay pot contents into a tray and placed on a fridge shelf with a DO NOT TOUCH SIGN.
Key Tips: Do not leave your food in the pot overnight. Empty the contents into a tray like above and rinse your clay pot thoroughly with water. Follow this by adding 2 tsp of baking soda and scrub with a pad that wouldn’t damage the pot. Soak the pot overnight in a sink of water and dry the next day.
Dinner ideas for two : Lamb and Cous cous in a Tagine pot
Warm 150 ml Chicken stock in a pot and add 100g Cous cous for 3 minutes. Pour into 2 tagine pots and add the clay pot lamb gravy and chunks of lamb and vegetables. Top with diced courgettes , chillies and place in preheated oven for 20 mins at 170C.
Dinner is served morocco style
I hope you enjoyed my recipe for cooking lamb in a clay pot. I am looking forward to trying out different meats and vegetables in my new clay pot, so watch this space.