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Bulgarian stuffed shoulder of lamb

This Bulgarian dish is traditionally prepared in early May from suckling lamb or, later on, from spring lamb, Serve the shoulder of lamb with a salad, spring onions and radishes. 

About 5 hours

Serves 6-8

2 kg 4 1/2 lb shoulder of lamb, boned out in a pocket, the shin and blade bone reserved salt and freshly
ground black pepper pinch of paprika

For The Stuffing

250 g  / 9 oz lamb's tongues, washed
100 g  / 4 oz lamb's sweetbreads
100 g  / 4 oz lamb's liver
15 ml  / 1 tbls wine vinegar salt
15 ml  / 1 tbls oil
100 g  / 4 oz short-grain rice
200 g  / 7 oz onion, finely chopped, or whole spring onions, finely sliced
2.5 ml / 1/2 tsp paprika
50 g 2 oz sultanas
10 ml  / 2 tsp crumbled dried mint or 15 ml / 1 tbls chopped fresh mint
05 ml  / 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1- First prepare the meat for the stuffing, put the lamb's tongues into a saucepan with 700 ml / 1 1/4 pt cold water, 2.5 ml / 1/2 tsp salt and the vinegar. Bring the liquid to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the sweetbreads and simmer together for 1 hour, dropping in the liver 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

2- Lift out the meat and reserve the stock. Peel the tongues with a small sharp knife and slice away the thick back part. Dice all the meat and set aside.

3- Heat the oil in a saucepan, Add the rice and stir for 1-2 minutes, until it just begins to change color. Stir in the onion or spring onions, the paprika pepper and the diced meat, then pour in 250 ml / 9 fl oz of the reserved stock or stock and water, Bring the mixture to boiling point, adding 4 ml / 1 tsp salt and the sultanas.

4- Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10-13 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most the liquid but the grains are still slightly firm in the center. Take off the heat and add the mint and set the pan aside without the lid. Your Bulgarian stuffed shoulder of lamb is in half way. 

5- Heat the oven to 230 C /450 F / gas 8 and place a shelf just above the center. Wipe the lamb with a damp cloth. Cut visible fat from inside the pocket as well as some of the surplus external fat. Season generously, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Spoon the Stuffing into the pocket, pushing it well down into all available spaces. Sew up the opening with a trussing needle and thick thread. Rub The Surface of the join with the paprika pepper so that the cooked shoulder will have a nice, crusty finish.

6- Put The reserved piece of the shin and the blade bone, smooth side up, in a roasting tin. Pour in 250 ml / 9 fl oz hot water. Place the stuffed lamb over the bones and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 C 350 F / gas 4 and roast for 2 1/4 hours, turning the meat over after 1 hour to brown the other side.

7- Transfer the joint to a warmed serving dish and remove the thread; keep the meat hot. Skim the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and pour the juices into a jug. Serve the stuffed meat piping hot sliced fairly thickly, accompanied by buttered peas, boiled potatoes and the meat juices. 

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