By: Wolfgang Puck
1 boned and trimmed lamb shoulder, about 2 pounds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus up to ½ cup, if needed
1 medium tomato, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 blanched whole almonds, lightly toasted
½ cup pitted prunes
½ cup dried apricots
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Lay the lamb out, skin side down, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the cumin, ½ teaspoon of the pepper, and the thyme. Roll and tie well with the butcher’s string. Sprinkle the outside with ½ teaspoon of the pepper and ½ teaspoon of the salt.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the lamb and cook over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Remove the lamb from the casserole.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the casserole. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining cumin, the rosemary and the red wine. Bring to a boil and cook about 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping browned bits off the bottom of the casserole. Stir in the broth, tomato, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Return the lamb to the casserole, cover, place in the oven and bake until meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.
Remove the casserole from the oven and take out the meat. Remove the vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them in a blender. Blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture back into the pot and stir well. Place over medium heat and cook about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Return the meat to the sauce and surround with the almonds, prunes, and apricots. Cover and bake until the meat is very tender and the fruit is soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove the lamb from the casserole, cut and remove the string and cut the lamb into thin slices. If the sauce is too thick, think with a little additional broth. Divide the lamb among 8 plates and spoon some sauce over the top. Serve immediately, passing any remaining sauce separately.