Watercress with mechoui lamb and harissa

Watercress with mechoui lamb and harissa

The Natural Cook
Laura Edwards

Mechoui lamb is slow-cooked, then rested for as long as possible so it steams in its own juices and becomes succulent and aromatic. Watercress works well with this dish, making a delicious iron-rich accompaniment.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Steamed watercress
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
30g butter
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 unwaxed lemon, finely zested
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1kg lamb shoulder
harissa sauce, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grind the coriander and cumin in a mortar and pestle. Mash the butter with the spices, lemon zest and garlic, adding 1 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Rub the flavoured butter all over the lamb, making sure it goes into any nooks and crannies, then place in a roasting tin (if you have one with a lid, use that). Roast for 15–20 minutes until brown, then remove from the oven, baste with the buttery juices and cover tightly with the lid, or with foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C and return the lamb. Cook slowly for at least three hours, checking the meat halfway through to make sure the roasting tin isn’t drying out. Spoon some of the buttery juices over the top as you do so.
  3. Remove from the oven, baste again, then rest, covered with the lid or the foil, for 30 minutes. Skim the excess fat from the top of the juices. Pull the meat off the bones and mix it with the cooking juices. Serve mixed with the watercress, offering harissa sauce on the side.


  • Lamb ragu: To make a yummy pasta sauce, fry 1 finely chopped onion in light olive oil until soft. Add 200 g leftover mechoui lamb and a 400 g can of chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes, then adjust the seasoning and toss over cooked, drained spelt or wholewheat pasta. Serves 2.


  • Both the watercress and the shredded lamb and juices will keep well for four days in sealed containers in the fridge. Reheat both in a pan until hot right through and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Cook natural

  • Find a butcher – or search for farms online – that sell lamb that has been reared locally and 100 per cent grass fed. This is their natural diet, so it is better for the animal and for the environment than food supplements that could contain any number of chemicals and may have been imported from across the world. Lamb shoulder is a delicious and relatively cheap cut; look for lamb that has a good amount of fat and is relatively dark in colour. It can be cooked pink, but takes well to a long, slow roast.
The Natural Cook
Tom Hunt
food cycle
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again