Tamarind and ginger roast lamb recipe by Melissa Thompson
Tamarind is abundant in Jamaica and, happily, it goes with nearly everything. Here, its tanginess excites the lamb. This is to make a deliciously sticky dish that is perfect for a lazy Sunday. We cook it so there’s still a bit of bite to the meat, but if you would rather it was pull-apart tender, cover it in foil for the first 2 hours of cooking, then remove the cover for the rest.
tamarind pods 400g, or 2 tbsp tamarind extract
ginger 2½cm piece, chopped
garlic 4 cloves
ground ginger 1 tbsp
ground pimento 1 tsp
thyme leaves from 4 sprigs
ground cinnamon ½ tsp
ground cumin 1 tsp
spring onions 2, sliced
sea salt 2 tsp
lamb shoulder on the bone 1.5-2kg piece
onions 2, sliced
If using tamarind pods, remove the flesh, de-stone them and pick off any strings. Place the flesh in a saucepan with 200ml water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thick. It will take around 12 minutes.
In a food processor, blitz all the ingredients apart from the lamb and sliced onions – but including the tamarind – until they form a paste. Rub the paste all over the lamb, pushing it into any nooks and crannies. Leave to marinate for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Remove from the fridge 1 hour before cooking, so the meat can return to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6.
Scatter the sliced onions into an ovenproof dish, add a cupful of water and sit the lamb on top. Place the lamb in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 130C fan/gas mark 2. Cook for 3 hours.
Remove the lamb from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 20 minutes. Serve with roasted yam and steamed cabbage.
From Motherland by Melissa Thompson (Bloomsbury, £26)