Lebanese braised lamb shoulder with uli spinach

Gemmayze St restaurant's head chef and owner Samir Allen shares his recipe for fall-apart tender Lebanese braised lamb shoulder. Pair with uli (stewed) spinach for the ultimate dinner party dish

By Samir Allen
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 10
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This recipe was first published in Taste magazine.
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Lamb shoulder
  • 2 boneless lamb shoulders, 1-1.2kg each
  • 4 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 50 millilitre olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 bulbs garlic, halved horizontally
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 100 millilitre sherry vinegar
  • 4 litre chicken stock
  • uli spinach (see recipe below)
  • apricot gremolata (see recipe below) – optional


  • 1
    Preheat oven to highest setting.
  • 2
    Place lamb shoulders flat and fat side up in a roasting tray. Rub on all sides with coriander and salt then roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven to 120°C.
  • 3
    While lamb is cooking, place a very large, heavy-based, ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and sauté onion, garlic and thyme until golden brown.
  • 4
    Deglaze saucepan with sherry vinegar and cook until totally reduced. Fold each lamb shoulder in half and add to saucepan with juice and fat from the roasting tray. Add stock and bring to the boil (see recipe tip).
  • 5
    Cover saucepan with ovenproof lid or foil and cook in oven (now at 120°C) for 2 hours. Remove and allow lamb to cool in the stock.
  • 6
    When cool, remove lamb and set aside. Pass stock through a sieve and reduce in a pan until thick and glossy.
  • 7
    Heat oven to 180°C. Place folded lamb in a roasting tray and liberally brush with reduced stock. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes, basting every 2 minutes, until sticky and glossy.
  • 8
    To serve, spoon all the uli spinach onto a large, warm serving platter and top with the glazed lamb shoulders. For an extra touch, spoon over some apricot gremolata if desired.
Uli (stewed) spinach
  • 9
    Sauté 2 onions, sliced, in olive oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat until they become dark and caramelised. Add 5 cloves garlic, chopped, and 2kg spinach, cover with a lid and cook until spinach wilts. Stir through 500g washed burghul (rinse burghul in cold water for 5 minutes then drain; no need to cook) and season with salt.
Apricot gremolata
  • 10
    Combine 125g dried apricots, roughly chopped, 3 small cloves garlic, minced, 125g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, and 125ml extra virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt.


If you don't have an ovenproof saucepan big enough, transfer everything to a large oven tray and cover tightly with foil.

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