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Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Green Olive and Pistachio Tabouleh with Fatouche Salad and Almond Rice

Maha’s Shane Delia wants us all to gather around the table for celebratory feasts of small plates, slow roasts, warm breads, spicy dips and fragrant rice dishes, all imbued with the seductive spices of the Middle East. ‘As long as I have good food, and family and friends to share it with, my life is complete,’ he says.


  • 2 heads of garlic, smashed in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt until it forms a paste

  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds, roast and crushed

  • 2 tbsp sumac

  • 3 lemons, zested

  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes

  • 1 leg of lamb, bone in and cut in two halves

  • 1 bottom of lamb forequarter (ribs)

  • Tabouleh

  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

  • ¼ bunch of mint leaves, coarsely chopped

  • 100g coarse burghul, soaked

  • 200g pistachios, roasted and crushed

  • 150g pitted green olives, crushed

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed in a mortar and pestle

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

  • olive oil to moisten

  • sea salt and cracked white pepper to season

  • Almond rice

  • 100g clarified butter

  • 50g angel hair pasta

  • ½ onion, finely diced

  • 250g basmati rice, washed

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed

  • 50g pinenuts, toasted

  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted

  • 750 ml hot water

  • 1 tbsp flaked sea salt

  • Roast Garlic and Lemon Dressing

  • 6 large heads garlic ,wrapped in foil

  • 500 ml lemon juice

  • 600 ml olive oil

  • salt and pepper

  • Bread

  • 200g sumac

  • 300 ml olive oil

  • 100 ml lemon juice

  • 3 large pieces of lebanese bread

  • Salad

  • ½ bunch mint, torn

  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes

  • 1 cucumber, cut into wedges

  • 1 red onion, finely sliced

  • 1 bunch bah’le (otherwise known as purslane)


  • 1.

    Mix all flavouring ingredients in a mortar and pestle until a paste forms.

  • 2.

    Score the lamb with a sharp knife and rub the mixture over the lamb.

  • 3.

    Place in an airtight container and allow to marinate for two to three days, refrigerated.

  • 4.

    Place on a suitable baking tray and place in a 110°C oven for 12 hours or until golden brown and sticky.

  • 5.

    When possible baste with the cooking juices.

  • Tabouleh:

  • 1.

    Place all ingredients in a bowl, mix and season to taste

  • Almond rice:

  • 1.

    In a wide based pan heat the clarified butter, break in the angel hair pasta and fry until golden brown.

  • 2.

    Add onions and washed rice and cook out so that the rice starts to absorb the clarified butter and onions begin to soften.

  • 3.

    Add spices and nuts with the water and bring to boil.

  • 4.

    Cook rice on low heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

  • 5.

    Season to taste and serve immediately.

  • Roast Garlic and Lemon Dressing:

  • 1.

    Place garlic in 130C oven for one hour.

  • 2.

    Once soft squeeze out all of the roast garlic from the skin.

  • 3.

    Mix with the remainder of the ingredients.

  • 4.

    Allow to stand overnight before using.

  • Bread:

  • 1.

    Mix sumac, oil and lemon juice to make a paste.

  • 2.

    Separate bread into chunks and brush generously with the sumac paste.

  • 3.

    Place in oven at 150°C until dry and crispy.

  • 4.

    Break up into desired size.

  • To Serve:

  • 1.

    Mix all salad ingredients together in a bowl.

  • 2.

    Add toasted bread and toss with dressing.

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