Recipe courtesy of Todd Aarons, executive chef of Tierra Sur Restaurant in Oxnard, California.
• 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder roast (have your butcher either net or tie the roast to keep the meat together)
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon allspice berries
• 1 tablespoon cumin seed
• 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
• 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into large dice
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (enough stock to come up half the height of the roast in the pan)
• 3 cups dried yellow skinless fava beans soaked in cold water for 2 hours
• 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (available in Middle Eastern, Indian and health food stores)
• Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Wipe the roast clean of any excess blood or moisture with a paper towel.
2. Prepare the spice mixture by grinding them to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. (While it is possible to buy ground spices, you will preserve the intense and aromatic qualities of these spices by grinding your own.)
3. Season the meat with kosher salt, then spread the spice mixture onto a sheet tray and roll the roast in the spices to encrust it in the mixture.
4. Add the oil to a large braising pan and warm it over medium heat. Add the roast to the pan and sear it on all sides.
5. Transfer the roast from the pan to a plate. Do not discard the oil in the pan. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Return the lamb and its juices to the pan. Add the stock, favas and pomegranate molasses to the pan. The liquid should cover about half of the roast.
6. Place a piece of parchment paper over the roast and cover with a lid or a tight-fitting piece of foil. Transfer to the oven and braise for 2 hours, carefully turning the meat halfway through so that the uncovered portion is submerged in the braising liquid.
7. Allow roast to rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving and serving. Serve with braising liquid (you may wish to puree it with an immersion blender), garnished with pomegranate seeds. Serves 6 to 8.