Doesn't everyone love lazy food?
The kind of food you can put a small amount of effort into and ignore for a while but still gives you amazing results. I know I do. When people comment that I'm a good cook I often remark that I'm given too much credit for adding fire to meat and plants...My skills in the kitchen have come from years of monumentally screwing things up, which taught me how to fix things when they go wrong and I think that's what makes a real cook - someone who understands the ingredients they're working with and how to prepare them in a way that makes them shine (and can rescue them when it all goes pear-shaped). This recipe isn't hard, but my-oh-my is the final result something special. Everyone loves a Sunday roast, right? Well next Sunday ditch the classic rosemary/garlic combination and try this slow cooked massaman curry lamb shoulder.
It really only consists of 2 ingredients: massaman curry paste and lamb shoulder. What makes it really special is that the curry paste is made from scratch. Now don't freak out on me or go "pffft, too hard" and bugger off. People often look at homemade curry paste as too much effort; I know I definitely used to. In reality they're no more difficult than making a smoothie: take ingredients and blend into a smooth paste. We can all handle that, right? Even using a mortar and pestle like I did (because my stick blender with small bowl attachment died; insert broken heart emoji here) it still only took 5 minutes, and to be honest the pounding it all together part was pretty darn fun.....I think what scares people is the long list of ingredients, but I think you'll find most well-stocked kitchens have a lot of the core spices and aromatics already sitting around. Spices are dirt cheap and last for ages in the pantry or fridge (depending on whether you buy dried or crushed) so $10 worth of spices now will last you months, which I think is a pretty good investment. What other kitchen staples are that cost effective? I think I even have a jar of mixed spice that's resided at three different addresses, and given that we've been in our current house nearly four years I'd say that's a pretty stable purchase.
Once you've made the massaman curry paste you simply smear it all over the lamb, a la pictures above, and slow cook that bad boy until it literally falls apart. LITERALLY. And not the literally that actually means figuratively, the literally that means the meat should be so tender you could eat it with a spoon. We're talking minimum five hours, preferably six and no harm in letting it go for seven. You can honestly pop it in the oven and forget it's there and it will still turn out beautifully. The ultimate lazy person food.
I adapted this recipe from a Donna Hay version that I thought was way too complicated (who has malt vinegar and shrimp paste lying around?), and as such I guessed what a lot of the quantities should be. I'm pretty confident I nailed them BUT it's pretty spicy; I love super spicy so I liked the two tablespoons of chilli flakes however if you're not a chilli freak dial it back to one tablespoon. The curry paste recipe makes about 1&1/2 cups but you won't need all of that for the lamb. Keep the remaining curry paste in a jar in the fridge and it will keep for ages, then use it for another curry later on. Slow cooked massaman lamb is now on our list of family favourites, I hope it becomes one of yours too.
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Slow Cooked Massaman Lamb Shoulder
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp peppercorns
¼ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ red onion
1 tbsp chilli flakes (or 2 if you like it spicy)
2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp coriander root, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced lemongrass
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp oil
2kg lamb shoulder
1) Preheat the oven to 115 degrees Celsius.
2) Dry fry the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns for 2 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Add the mixed spice and cardamom and fry for a further minute, stirring constantly.
3) Add the seeds to food processor/mortar & pestle with the onion, chilli flakes, garlic, coriander root, ginger, lemongrass, salt and brown sugar. Blend/bash into a paste then stir through the oil.
4) Score the rind on the lamb shoulder then evenly spread curry paste across the surface.
5) Bake the lamb for 6 hours, then rest for30 minutes before serving.
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