Find yourself with a lamb shoulder in the fridge and you’re probably thinking of cooking it up as a hearty weekend roast dinner or a bolstering mid-week stew. But how about slow cooking it, shredding it up while it’s still warm, and putting the pulled lamb in a salad?
A tangy and fragrant salad with slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder, freshly chopped herbs, and a pomegranate dressing. Perfect for special occasions or a weekend lunch.
Lamb is a particularly rich and filling meat. And that’s why I think it works so well in a leafy, aromatic salad. You already know it’s going to be a satisfying meal by just adding some salad leaves, herbs, and a drizzle of tangy dressing. Don’t get me wrong – dousing a lamb joint in thick gravy and mint sauce is lovely, but it’s good to change it up a little bit sometimes for a lighter, more effortless dinner.
I almost always cook my lamb joints in the slow cooker. I don’t add water – just place the meat in the dish of the slow cooker and leave it to cook, effortlessly, for a few hours. You can slow roast it in the oven if you prefer. Slow cooking the lamb means that you are rewarded with incredibly tender, juicy meat, and you have the added bonus of not having to bother with all that slicing, carving, and portion control in the kitchen. Just lift the cooked meat onto a plate and shred it, still steaming, with a couple of forks. Then plonk the pulled lamb in the middle of the table for everyone to dig in.
I’ve really developed a love for pomegranate, especially for sticky sweet pomegranate molasses, which is made by reducing pomegranate juice until it forms a dark syrup that’s both intensely sweet and sour at the same time. It works well added to chicken and fish dishes, or a little dropped into drinks or salad dressings. Here I love how the tartness from the molasses cuts any fattiness from the lamb. And the glossy, ruby-like pomegranate seeds add colour and sweetness as well as crunch.
Basil is an unusual addition but if you’ve never tried basil and lamb together, then I urge you to. It adds another level of aniseed-sweetness that just seems to lift the rich complex flavours in the meat.
Best served with the lamb still warm, this pulled lamb salad is a handy option if you’re feeding a crowd because it’s just so easy to put together. It also feels luxurious, with the fragrant herbs and jewel-like pomegranate seeds, making it a great option for a special occasion or weekend lunch.
- 400g boneless, rolled lamb shoulder joint
- 90g fresh, washed rocket leaves
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped basil leaves
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped mint leaves
- 3–4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
- Pinch of salt
- First, preheat your slow cooker to high. Place your lamb shoulder joint in the bottom of the dish of your slow cooker. Replace the lid and leave to cook for 4 hours.
- Once the lamb is fully cooked and tender (test by pulling it apart with a couple of forks), lift it out onto a large plate and pull and shred the meat with a couple of forks.
- Arrange the rocket leaves over a serving plate and strew the warm lamb over the top. Scatter over the herbs and the pomegranate seeds.
- Quickly whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and the pomegranate molasses and then pour the dressing all over the lamb, leaves and herbs. Serve while the lamb is still warm.