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Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with white beans and harissa

Danielle Alvarez's Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder Recipe

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with white beans and harissa

Danielle Alvarez shares her Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder recipe, which pairs perfectly with a glass of Tempranillo.



1 x 2.25–2.5kg lamb shoulder, on the bone

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve 

Juice of 1 lemon

½ bunch thyme, leaves picked


300g dried white beans, such as cannellini or flageolet 

1 onion, peeled and halved

2 carrots, peeled and halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons salt

2 bay leaves

½ bunch thyme


900g–1kg red bullhorn peppers (or any sweet red pepper/capsicum variety) 

1 garlic bulb plus 1 garlic clove 

3 tablespoons olive oil

60g hazelnuts, toasted

60g almonds, toasted

1 teaspoon mild smoked paprika

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

60g breadcrumbs, toasted


1. The beans can be made a day or two ahead. Soak them in cold water overnight and cover the beans with more water than you think they need. They will double in size during the soaking process, and if some stick out of the water, they will not soak evenly and will therefore cook unevenly. The following day, drain them and place them in a large saucepan with 1.5 litres (6 cups) cold water and the remaining ingredients (tie the herbs together so they are easy to remove later on). Bring the water up to a simmer and skim off any brown foam that floats to the top. Simmer until they are completely creamy and tender. This could take anywhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on the size of the beans. Add a bit more water during the cooking process if it seems like it is evaporating too quickly. Allow to cool in the liquid, then reheat, still in the liquid, to serve.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

3. To make your romesco, char the peppers completely over a stovetop flame or outside on a grill. It’s important that they are blackened so that the skins come off easily. Place them in a bowl and cover with a lid so they steam and cool. Once cooled, peel them, removing any seeds or stem that is still attached. Add to a blender and blitz to a paste. You don’t want a super-fine paste, but something with a bit of texture to it. To roast your garlic, cut the top quarter off, place it on a piece of aluminium foil and pour over 1 tablespoon oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap it up tightly in the foil then bake in the oven for 45 minutes until it is soft and beginning to turn golden. Set aside to cool. Crush your toasted nuts in a mortar and pestle until finely crushed but not yet a paste. In a bowl, combine the crushed nuts with the pepper purée, squeeze the soft garlic out of its skin and add it along with any of its roasting oil, the smoked paprika, remaining olive oil and vinegars, and grate in the raw clove of garlic. Add the breadcrumbs just before serving so that they don’t go soggy.

4. The night before you want to cook your lamb, season it liberally with salt and pepper and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. 

5. The next day, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the lamb and rub it with the thyme leaves. Place it on a tray and roast for 6–7 hours until very tender. The meat should fall off the bone. If the shoulder needs extra caramelisation, increase the heat to 220°C for the last 20 minutes of cooking to brown the outside. Rest the meat for 20 minutes on a serving platter so that its juices will mingle with the beans.

6. Spoon the hot beans around the lamb and drizzle with some good olive oil and a final seasoning of salt and pepper. Serve with the romesco.


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