Zahav Lamb Shoulder

I would like to make Zahav's Lamb Shoulder -- for the first time. There are several recipes on the web, and they all call for different cooking temperatures 300F (, 325F ( and 350F (, etc. If you made this dish, which temperature did you use? I usually slow cook lamb way below 300F, but there are chickpeas involved in this recipe... Would appreciate any tips, pointers. Thanks!



jdleff March 20, 2023
Okay, I found your post when I searching for the Zavah lamb shoulder recipe (LOVE the restaurant). You mentioned that you had success with sous vide. Do you happen to have that recipe for the sous vide method? I love that idea then cook it in the pomegranate glaze right before serving.
QueenSashy March 21, 2023
Here it is… I typically use two smaller pieces of lamb shoulder, or lamb shanks as they fit sous vide bags better. Brine per original recipe... Dry the lamb and sear. Mix the following: 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (or more depending on taste), 4 - 5 cups vegetable broth or water, 2 crushed garlic cloves, crushed, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar, 2 bay leaves. Preheat the sous vide to 156°F. Prepare two double bagged sous vide or 1-gallon Ziploc bags. Place each piece of meat into a sous-vide bag and pour the pomegranate molasses sauce into it. Sous-vide for 36 - 48 hours. About an hour or two before serving, remove the shanks from the sous vide. Pour the liquid from both bags into a saucepan. Return the shanks into sous-vide. Reduce the liquid, keep warm. When ready to serve, take the lamb shanks out of sous vide, transfer onto a serving platter and pour the glaze all over it.
Rich December 6, 2021
This seems like the place to go on the internet for Zahav lamb shoulder cooking advice. I made it once before (using the cookbook recipe without any real deviation) and the chickpeas came out overcooked and the color of the pomegranate glaze instead of the vibrant chickpea like color in the photo (or in the restaurant itself). The lamb itself was not overcooked. Anyway, planning to make it again soon. Curious what others have done about the chickpeas that was successful. I may omit them entirely this time.
QueenSashy December 6, 2021
I had a similar experience and have eliminated them from the dish. But if you would like to include them in some way, I suggest just toasting the chickpeas in the oven (separately) and then serving with the lamb, it's works quite nicely. There are a couple of recipes on the site, such as this one or this
Josh H. August 19, 2021
Sorry for bringing this thread back from the dead, but I recently got this cookbook and I seem to be having the same issues here with all the liquid leftover after braising.

Could it be that we're using a tightly covered dutch oven rather than a roasting pan covered in foil? I assume the surface area and inevitable looseness of a "tightly covered" roasting pan with foil would cause more evaporation?

I really don't want to mess this up, not sure what to do.
QueenSashy August 20, 2021
Josh. I ran into the same issue, and I tried the foil too, but 8 cups is a lot of liquid. IMO, this is the case of a restaurant dish that cannot be straightforwardly adapted for home use, plus I am not sure that they thoroughly tested the recipe that's printed in the book. (For example, the recipe does not say to season the meat with salt and pepper before browning. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe to the rule and the meat was badly under-seasoned.) To reduce the liquid do the following. On the second day, preheat the oven to 475°F, take the lamb out of the fridge, place the lamb, chickpeas, and one cup of the liquid in the oven, and roast as specified in the recipe (uncovered for about 30min, basting frequently). Meanwhile, reduce the remaining liquid on the stove until you get something like consistency of tomato sauce.

Ian B. May 2, 2019
Can you substitute a leg for the shoulder? I just can’t seem to find the right cut for the original recipe.
QueenSashy May 2, 2019
Yes. You may have to adjust cooking time, depending on how big (or small) the leg is. Also, I've been doing this a lot recently in sous vide and with lamb shanks. It's a perfect sous vide recipe.
GourMel January 21, 2019
Has anyone tried adding liquid smoke to this recipe? I'm thinking about adding it to the brine but I've never actually used it before.
TomMeg January 21, 2019
I did add about a teaspoon to the brine. It added a subtle, non-artificial tasting flavor that I could take or leave. I was too distracted by the recipe in the book being hugely underseasoned and watery to form a strong opinion about the smokiness. I probably won't bother adding liquid smoke if I make this dish again (though I will make the version closer to the one found on the Wine Spectator site).
QueenSashy January 21, 2019
I am not a fan of liquid smoke, I find it too overpowering. Perhaps smoked salt would be less intrusive. I usually add a lot of fennel seed and juniper to the brine, a couple of bay leaves, and I double the garlic. Works great.
TomMeg January 8, 2019
I just made this last night and ran into a lot of the same issues QueenSashy mentions below (underseasoned brine, not enough pomegranate flavor in the braise). There is a very different version of this recipe on the Wine Spectator website (apparently posted in 2013) that seems much more likely to get you closer to the dish served in the restaurant. Basically, the brine is 5X more concentrated, and the braising liquid is mostly pomegranate juice (not molasses) plus a little water.
QueenSashy January 8, 2019
I played with the recipe and changed it quite a bit to arrive at a bullet-proof version I now make quite often. Brine remains the same. For the braise: 8 cups of water, 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar, 2 bay leaves. Roast at 190-200F for about 16 hours. Then reduce the liquid to a thick syrup. Forget about chickpeas. I would be happy to send you the complete recipe.
Nancy January 21, 2019
Queen Sashy...reading through this thread, see how much you've changed and mastered/made the recipe your own...I (and I suspect many others) would love to see it here. If or when you have the time and energy, would you post here as something like the condensed-more savory-Queen Sashy lamb shoulder 2.0
Yeah! :)
Rich December 29, 2021
Queen Sashy — since you are the expert at this dish would like to get your thoughts. I want to use your modifications except 1) I won’t have 16 hours to cook and 2) my lamb shoulder is actually 10 pounds! Do you think the standard time in the book will work ok with your changes? And do you suggest I double the braising liquid with double the lamb?
QueenSashy June 8, 2016
Susan, I did not find the shoulder with the ribs attached, I am still shopping around and you are one lucky individual to have it! I will be making another attempt at the roast later this week. If you are interested in making the dish, I would be happy to type in exactly what I did and email it to you, because I feel that the recipe in the book might have been written in a bit of a rush...
Susan W. June 8, 2016
Sashy, I would love to get the details. I only have one of these roasts, so your detailed experience would be appreciated.

Are you in the states? I forget where you are. I didn't find my lamb farmer using this, but I have referred a few clients to this resource and they have been happy with it.

I'll message you my email.
Phyllis G. June 8, 2016
sorry i didn't get back to you yesterday. after braising for many hours, i often remove the meat and separately reduce down the remaining liquid. so i guess that's what i would do with the lamb. i would remove the meat, strain out the chick peas, and then reduce down the liquid. before reducing it you could add wine and more pomegranate molasses. once it's it's reduced and thick, stir in the chick peas and spoon it all over the meat.
QueenSashy June 8, 2016
That's exactly what I did (great minds think alike - ha ha ha). I added a tablespoon of Dijon and about 1/2 cup more of the molasses (without that the sauce did not have any pronounced flavor. Next time I am adding a garlic clove.). Reduced the sauce to a thick syrup and then basted the meat with it during the final roast. And I pretty much arrived to the dish they show in the pictures!!! Yay to that. Another observation for those brave enough to go on this journey is that the recipe does not call for any salt and pepper other than those used in the brine. That did not work either and the meat was very under-seasoned (serves me well for following the recipe 100% percent, and not trusting my gut), so next time I will season the meat before browning it.
Susan W. June 8, 2016
Sashy, I am so impressed with you. Did you find a shoulder with ribs attached? I'm buying a side of lamb and my farmer has had to request a special cut from his butcher for me. Can't wait to make this with your adjustments.
Krj919 December 3, 2019
Hey there. I am planning on making this dish for Xmas. Could you email the recipe you use? [email protected]! I am planning on smoking for a couple hours then braise for the remainder. Thank you!
Krj919 December 3, 2019
Hey there. I am planning on making this dish for Xmas. Could you email the recipe you use? [email protected]! I am planning on smoking for a couple hours then braise for the remainder. Thank you!
Phyllis G. June 7, 2016
I did not make the lamb shoulder recipe but I just read through it and it sounds wonderful. But oh my goodness what a production! I often brown my shoulder before putting it in the oven covered at 300F for 4-5 hours. Sometimes I submerge it in wine and tomato sauce. Sometimes I just tuck in slices of garlic and rosemary and slow-cook it without liquid. It's kind of hard to mess it up. That's why I love braising meat! I would say following the Zahav recipe faithfully would be a good idea. What a payoff! Or, google Jamie Oliver's lamb shoulder recipes for some much simpler ideas. Let me know what you make or if you have any more questions.
QueenSashy June 7, 2016
Thanks for getting back! And you are right, this dish is a production. I like to slow roast meat at low temperatures (like 220F for 7 hours) and the meat is oh-so-wonderful, so I wondered if it would work here, but then there are chickpeas involved??? That question aside, there are still many things in the Zahav recipe that are giving me hard time. I still have not acquired the lamb, but yesterday I did an experiment with pork roast (it was much cheaper than oh-so-expensive lamb shoulder). I followed the Zahav process exactly and roasted the meat at 300F for five hours in an 8 qt Dutch oven with a lid. The meat is great, but I ended up with A LOT of liquid. A LOT. The pork is now resting in the braise in the refrigerator, and I am supposed to finish the dish tonight, but I do not see how all this liquid will reduce to a thick glaze that we see in the pictures of the dish on the Internet. Also, 1/2 cup of pomegranate molasses barely yielded any flavor, so I am wondering if 1/2 cup is a typo? Finally, the recipe does not say what to do with the chickpeas, do they accompany the meat in the final roast or not (I suppose not, but I could be wrong)? Any thoughts and ideas are much appreciated.
QueenSashy June 6, 2016
I'll definitely send Phyllis a message -- the dish is a little bit of an undertaking, so I am not surprised that few (or none?) have cooked it. Plus, I am still trying to locate the right piece of lamb :)
Lindsay-Jean H. June 7, 2016
Good luck and keep us updated with how it goes!
Lindsay-Jean H. June 6, 2016
If you haven't already made it, you might try sending a message to Phyllis Grant, since she cooked over 20 recipes from it for the Piglet, perhaps that was one she tried!
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