I had been thinking about making Pulled Lamb Sandwiches for a while. And then a recipe appeared on NYT Cooking, to which I subscribed. I figured it was perfect timing.
Then I read the recipe and realized that it required a smoker. I don’t have a smoker; and figured if I bought one, it would go the same way as the deep fat fryer: donated to a charity after one use. So, no smoker.
At least I had a clue as to what cut of lamb to use. Unfortunately, neither of my neighborhood grocery stores carried a lamb shoulder. So while inspired, I decided to make up my own recipe.
Here it is. It might look complicated because there are so many spices. I assure you it’s quite simple and totally fabulous. The lamb is cooked at a low temperature for 3-4 hours. It’s made the day before and pulled off the bone and shredded the day of the party.
I served it in whole wheat pita bread filled with Israeli Salad, Tzatziki and topped with Tahini. You could also pile in high on a potato roll or hamburger bun.
When my friends volunteered to taste test, they downed the first one I made for them and then suggested in the interest of fairness, they try another one or two, or three.
PULLED LAMB SANDWICHES ON WARM PITA BREAD WITH TZATZIKI, TAHINI, ISRAELI SALAD & SWEET PAPRIKA
EVENT: Game Night
YIELD: 20 Generous Sandwiches
1 bone in leg of lamb (5 ½ – 6 ½ lbs)
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ whole nutmeg, grated
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup oil (grape seed, olive or canola)
1 cup boiling water
10 large pita breads
1. Using a small knife, remove some of the excess fat and score the leg of lamb in a few places.
2. Make the slits ½ inch deep through the fat and meat to allow the marinade to seep in.
3. Put all of the spices, lemon juice and oil in a bowl, and stir to combine and make a wet paste.
4. Rub the paste all over the lamb using your hands to massage the spices into the meat.
5. Place lamb in a Dutch oven and cover. Set aside for a few hours.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
7. Put lamb uncovered in oven with fatty side up and roast for 30 minutes. Add the boiling water to the pan and continue to cook covered, basting every hour for approximately 4 ½ hours. Add more water if needed so that there is always at least ½ inch in the bottom.
8. Once done and lamb falls off bone with fork. Remove from oven and cool completely.
9. Refrigerate overnight. Remove excess congealed fat from pan.
10. Carefully pull lamb away from the bone using fingers or a fork.
11. Add lamb back into Dutch oven and heat in 350 degree oven to make sandwiches.
12. To assemble sandwiches, cut pita bread in ½ half. Warm in oven.
13. Fill each pita with a layer of Tzatziki, Israeli Salad, pulled lamb. Top with Tahini and sweet paprika.