Lamb Braised in Forest Floor with Charred Apricot Achar


Serves 8-10

1 6-8 pound American lamb shoulder

2 1/2 tablespoons garam masala

1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Enough forest floor* to fill the bottom of the roasting pan or Dutch oven

1 onion, cut into large chunks

6 garlic cloves

3 inch piece of ginger, sliced

*Forest floor is meant to mimic the intoxicating scent of a forest hike. You can use most varieties of spruce branches, fir, maple, and alder. If you’re lucky enough to find a few edible mushrooms, throw those in there. Fallen maple leaves add a lovely flavor. You could also use woody herbs like rosemary, sage, and time. 

Charred Apricot Achar


3 pounds apricots, halved and pits removed

1 large red onion, sliced

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup - 3/4 cup brown sugar

Juice and zest of two limes

1 inch piece of ginger

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch fresh nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

Sea salt

2 cups white wine


For the lamb:

The day before you plan to cook the lamb season with garam masala and kosher salt. 

Refrigerate overnight or up to two days before cooking.

Bring the lamb out of the fridge one hour before you start to cook.

Preheat your oven or grill to 350*F

Line the bottom of the pot with your forest floor. Set the lamb on time. Add the onion, garlic and ginger around the lamb. Then pour in the white wine. 

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid then roast for 3 - 4 hours, until tender but not quite falling off of the bone.  Remove the lid, turn the oven up to 450*F and continue to roast for one hour more, until deeply charred and the lamb is fork tender. 

Let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving with the Charred Apricot Achar.

For the achar:

Preheat your oven or grill to 425*F

In a large roasting dish combine 2 pounds of the apricot halves, red onion, vinegar, brown sugar, lime zest and juice, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili and a hearty pinch of salt.

Roast in an oven or grill until the apricots and onions are deeply charred in parts and the brine is bubbly. 

Let cool before pureeing in a blender. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Grill the remaining apricots then add those to the purée. Serve with lamb. 

*USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F followed by a 3 minute rest.

Recipe by Not Without Salt at