Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder and Beans with Magic Green Sauce
Carla Lalli Music is preparing a mouth-watering lamb dish and pairing it with a homemade sauce.
1 bone-in lamb shoulder roast (6 to 7 pounds)
6 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 dried chiles de árbol
¼ cup soy sauce
For the beans and the green sauce
4 shallots, halved
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 2 garlic cloves, divided
2 bay leaves
Handful of thyme sprigs
1 pound dried large white beans, such as gigante, rinsed, soaked overnight if possible
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 cups loosely packed tender fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, and/or parsley
½ serrano chile
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 lemon, halved
Directions to Make The Lamb
Season lamb on all sides with 6 teaspoons kosher salt; use all of it. In a small dry skillet, combine cumin seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel seeds, and chiles and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until spices are slightly darkened and very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and let cool, then finely grind. Season lamb all over with spice mixture, packing it on. Wrap lamb in plastic wrap (or use the butcher paper it came in) and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Place lamb in a large Dutch oven and pour soy sauce and ¼ cup water around. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until lamb is pull-apart tender, very well browned, and a thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers 190°F, about 4½ hours. Continue to cook for 30 minutes more, which affords lamb sustained time at this key internal temperature to help melt the collagen and layers of fat within the roast; there’s no danger that it will dry out despite the long roasting time.
Make the beans and the green sauce Meanwhile, in a large pot, combine onion, halved head of garlic, bay leaves, thyme, beans, 1 tablespoon salt, and a few cranks of black pepper. Add water to cover beans by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a very bare simmer and skim any foam that rises to the top. Cook, stirring occasionally and topping off with water as needed, until beans are completely creamy and tender, but still intact, 40 to 50 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to fish out onion, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, then taste beans and broth and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
While beans cook, in a blender, combine herbs, remaining 2 cloves garlic, chile, oil, capers, nutritional yeast, and juice of ½ lemon; season generously with salt. Blend on medium-high speed until herbs are chopped, about 20 seconds. Add 3 ice cubes, increase speed to high, and blend until sauce is lightened, smooth, and creamy (add water a splash at a time to get things moving, if needed). The ice keeps the herb sauce cool so that it doesn’t turn brown; it will liquefy as the blades turn, which helps with the texture of the puree. Cover green sauce and refrigerate until lamb is ready.
For a more formal presentation, serve lamb whole and slice it at table. Or, use two forks or your fingers to shred lamb, then return it to pot with cooking liquid and toss to coat. Drizzle beans with olive oil and juice from remaining lemon half. Season with more black pepper, and spoon some green sauce on top. Serve extra green sauce alongside.