Moroccan slow-roasted shoulder of lamb

From Small Adventures in Cooking by James Ramsden (Quadrille, UKL 14.99).

Serves 6:
shoulder of lamb 1 x 1.5-2kg, on the bone
natural yogurt 350g
lemon, juice of 1
ras el hanout 2 tbsp
1/2 ts smoked paprika
salt and pepper
red onions 2, peeled and sliced
garlic 1 whole bulb
1/2 a bottle red wine
olive oil
couscous 300g
pomegranate 1, deseeded
coriander a big bunch, chopped

Chunks of meat are all well and good, but few things beat a whole joint, slowly roasted on the bone until the meat slides away at the slightest prod. Lamb shoulder is arguably the king of such joints. It's tough as old boots, but so perfectly fatty that when sympathetically cooked the fat melts through the meat, tenderising and oozing flavour throughout the flesh.

Using a sharp knife, slash the lamb a few times -- no deeper than an inch -- on the fatty side. Mix 250g of the yogurt, lemon juice, ras el hanout and smoked paprika in a bowl and season with pepper. Spread the onion out on a roasting tin, throw in unpeeled garlic cloves and place the lamb on top. Rub the lamb with the marinade, pour over the wine, cover and leave, 24 hours would be ideal, an hour will do.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3. Season the lamb with salt and drizzle with oil. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 3 hours. Remove the foil and roast for a further half-hour. The shoulder blade should be peeking out from under the end of the meat.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest, loosely covered with foil, for half an hour. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the packet instructions. Pull the meat apart with tongs, garnish with the pomegranate seeds and coriander, and serve with a spoonful of the cooking juices, the couscous and the remaining yogurt.