This dish (locally ‘lahmi aldaan walbitata‘; لحم الضأن والبطاطا) was cooked for me by my partner. I wrote it down because I liked it, but finding provenance on it is difficult. It comes from a magazine clipping with a URL of a defunct web site that now redirects to Prima magazine. Having eaten in the Middle East and watched regional cooks at work, I suppose it gets its Lebanese moniker from the spice rub given to the lamb before it is braised. If we Google the dish in Arabic, then it pops up all over the place, pretty much exactly as described here. Numerous recipes follow a similar idea. If you have no children around, this dish would benefit from some chilli adding to the rub.
Lebanese lamb and potatoes
- 750g lamb shoulder, bone in.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch of nutmeg, grated
- Pinch of cumin, ground
- Pinch of cinnamon, ground
- Pinch of paprika
- Pinch of oregano, dried
- 2 large red onions, sliced
- 2 glasses dry white wine
- 600ml lamb or vegetable stock
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat an oven to 150˚C.
Season the lamb and rub all over with your hands. Do the same with the ground spices.
Heat the oil in an oven-proof casserole or Dutch oven. Brown the lamb on all sides. Add the onions, wine and stock, and bring to the boil.
Add another 600ml of boiling water, bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for 2.5–3h, adding the potatoes for the last 20 mins.
Once done, remove the lamb to a bowl and shred it off the bone with two forks. Add the lamb back to the pot and serve to the table with crusty bread.
Add chilli powder to the rub for extra spice.