Lamb shoulder, naartjie, pickled leeks, pumpkin preserve

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    Starter Portions
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Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About
Rust en Vrede

This is the one of the dishes that we made for Ferran Adrià when he visited Rust en Vrede, and the one which he seemed to enjoy the most. Cooking for him was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life, and now one of the moments of which I’m most proud.


Lamb parcel

  • 1 whole lamb shoulder – about 2.5kg
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 10 sprigs rosemary
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 5 cloves garlic – crushed
  • salt and black pepper
  • 400 g red onions – roughly sliced
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 100 ml vegetable stock
  • 8 sheets phyllo pastry
  • butter – melted for brushing

Pickled leeks


Rub the lamb with the olive oil and seasonings. Place the onions in the base of an oven tray and cover with the seasoned lamb shoulder. Cover the lamb with foil, place the tray in the oven and roast at 170°C for 3–4 hours. Baste the lamb with its own juices after an hour. After 2 hours, remove the foil and leave for 1–2 more hours. Once done, remove the lamb from the tray and set aside.

Deglaze the oven tray with the red wine and add the contents to a pan with the vegetable stock. Reduce until a sticky liquid forms. Shred the cooked lamb. Pour the sauce over the lamb as you shred it. Pack the meat in a 5cm-deep tray and set in the fridge overnight or for about 12 hours. Cut 8 squares, 5 × 5cm – 75g per portion.

Wrap each square in 1 sheet of phyllo pastry as you would a gift, and brush with melted butter. Allow to set in the fridge until needed. For serving, bake the lamb parcels in a 180°C oven for 10–15 minutes until golden brown.

Trim the tops of the baby leeks (reserve for stock) to ensure a uniform size. Wash the leeks thoroughly. Place in a vacuum bag and pour in hot white balsamic pickling liquid. Seal the vacuum bag and refrigerate until needed.

To assemble, place a crisp lamb parcel on each plate and arrange the candied naartjie peel, pumpkin preserve, pickled leeks and pumpkin purée as desired. Finish with the beef jus and micro coriander leaves.