1 To make the marinade, place the mint, cumin, Sichuan pepper and chilli in a mortar and, using a pestle, grind ingredients to a powder. Add the garlic, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar and mix to a paste.
2 Using a metal skewer prick the lamb all over and season with salt and pepper. Spread the marinade over lamb and refrigerate overnight.
3 Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the lamb in a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, add wine to the base along with 500ml water. Roast for 4-5 hours, basting every hour until the meat is soft and falling away from the bone. Add more water if needed.
4 Turn the oven up to 190°C and cook uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, basting until the skin has caramelised.
5 To make the tabbouleh, place the freekeh, spring onion, parsley, mint, dill and pome-granate seeds in a bowl and toss to combine. Place the pomegranate molasses, olive oil and lemon juice in a separate bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Drizzle over the tabbouleh and toss to coat. Gently shred the lamb and place on a platter, spoon the tabbouleh over the lamb and serve with lemon and feta.
Mucking around with food and wine is fun but every now and then it’s best to stick to the simple axiom – red meat with red wine. However, this lamb recipe carries a distinct Middle Eastern note with the nutty freekeh, freshness of the parsley, dill and mint and the use of feta and pomegranate. Alex Head’s The Blonde makes a positive statement. It’s sourced from Stonewell parish, an area renowned for its earthy, savoury flavoured shiraz. While very youthful, it’s the energy and vigour that cuts through the lamb dish.