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BBQ Harissa Lamb Shoulder with Grilled Pita and Minted Raita

Photo: Meat
From: Chef Conor Hanlon, The Dutch, Miami. Yield: 8-10 servings

5 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons toasted and ground cumin
2 teaspoons toasted and ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons harissa paste
1 tablespoon molasses

1 boneless Aussie lamb shoulder (roughly 3 1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot
1 Spanish onion
1 stalk celery
8 cloves garlic, halved
¼ cup tomato paste

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

8-10 pita breads, halved

To make the rub: Mix together the dry spices, salt and sugar. Add the molasses and harissa paste. Rub the mixture all over the lamb shoulder and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 12- to 24 hours.

To make the braise: Preheat the oven to 275°F. Place a large ovenproof pot or roasting pan over high heat and warm the olive oil. Sear the lamb shoulder on all sides. Remove it to a plate.

To make lamb: Stir and sauté the celery, carrot, onion and garlic until they are golden brown. Add the tomato paste and return the lamb to the pot. Pour in 5 quarts water, cover with aluminum foil and place the pot in the oven for 3 1/2 hours, or until the lamb is falling-apart tender.

Remove lamb from the braising liquid, and let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes, or until you can start to handle it. Shred the meat and set it aside.

Reduce braising liquid on medium-high heat (do not skim off the rendered lamb fat; it will act as a thickener later on). Let the liquid simmer until reduced by half.

Place the braising liquid and solids in a blender. Puree until very smooth. This will become your BBQ sauce. Mix the shredded lamb with the BBQ sauce.

To make raita: In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To serve: Grill or toast pita breads and stuff them with the warm pulled lamb BBQ. Top with the minted raita.

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