Add spice to the barbecue


Kathy Jollimore | Cooking Class

This spiced and braised lamb dish is perfect as a filling for pitas, especially when served alongside lebneh (strained yogurt). You can also serve this recipe over rice or couscous.

Lebanese Spiced Lamb

4 servings

Prep Time: More than 3 hours or overnight

Total Time: More than 3 hours or overnight

  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 4 (2 lbs total) lamb shoulder chops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 24-oz can whole tomatoes, lightly crushed
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses*
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • Lebneh (see Here’s How)


*Pomegranate molasses is an integral part of Lebanese cuisine and simple to make. Combine 2 cups pomegranate juice (available at most grocery stores) with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Place in a pot set over medium-high heat. When the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool before using. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Directions: Stir together the spices. Rub the chops with the spice blend. Allow to marinate an hour or overnight. In a large Dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Sear the chops, 2 at a time until browned, 3 minutes per side. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned. Add the garlic, cooking for another minute. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and lamb. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Cover and gently simmer 2 hours. In a second pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook the eggplant in batches until golden brown and soft. Add to the lamb along with the molasses. Cook uncovered until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone, about another 30 min – 1 hour. If desired, remove the bones from the lamb. Stir in the mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Here’s How: Lebneh

1. Line a small colander with cheesecloth. Set over a large bowl.

2. Add 2 cups yogurt. Twist the cheesecloth around the yogurt to seal.

3. Refrigerate for at least a day, draining off the liquid occasionally. For a thicker cheese, allow to strain another 1-2 days. Remove from cheesecloth and refrigerate.


Occasions Recommends: Pipoli Aglianico del Vulture, Italy, $19.99

Next Week: Kathy comes up with a recipe to match Maipo Gran Devocian Syrah Sirah from Chile.

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