Note: Start this recipe at least two days ahead to brine and braise the lamb shoulder.
Generous 1/4 cup sea salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp allspice berries
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
1 bone-in, square-cut lamb shoulder (about 2.25kg)
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
1. Combine the salt with the sugar, fennel seeds, peppercorns, allspice, garlic, and about 1.8 litres water in a large pot. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and allow the brine to cool completely.
2. Combine the chickpeas with the baking soda in a large bowl and cover with water by several centimetres. Let soak overnight.
3. Put the shoulder in a large (5- to 7-litre) container and pour the brine over the lamb. (Ideally, the lamb shoulder should be submerged, so weight it with two plates. But if that’s impractical, cover the lamb with a clean cloth that’s saturated in the brine.) Refrigerate the lamb shoulder in the brine overnight or for up to 48 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 240°C. Place a rack on a baking sheet. Drain the lamb and pat dry. Put the lamb on the rack and roast until well browned on the exterior, about 30 minutes. (Or sear the lamb over a medium-hot grill for 15 minutes until well browned on all sides and nicely charred in places.) Lower the oven temperature to 150°C.
5. Transfer the lamb shoulder to a large roasting pan. Mix the pomegranate molasses with 8 cups water in a bowl and add to the pan. (The liquid should come about halfway up the shoulder; add water if needed.) Drain the chickpeas and add them to the liquid. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the lamb and cover the pan tightly with foil.
6. Braise in the oven until the lamb shreds easily with a fork and the chickpeas are tender, about 5 hours. Let the lamb cool in its braising liquid in the refrigerator overnight.
7. The next day, preheat the oven to 240°C. Roast the lamb, uncovered, spooning the braising liquid over the lamb every 5 minutes, until the lamb is heated through and glazed with the liquid, about 30 minutes.
This recipe comes from Zahav © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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