40 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 whole lamb shoulders, boned (about 1.2 kg in total)
2 medium red onions, peeled and blitzed in a food processor
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 sticks celery, chopped coarsely
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (half for the marinade)
1 L tomato passata
600 ml water
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Rind of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
4 eggs and some milk for egg wash
Oil for frying
200 ml Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium cucumber, grated and juice squeezed out
1 small lemon, juiced
1/2 cup coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Marinate the lamb shoulder in the red onion pulse and garlic overnight.
Preheat oven to 160 C.
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or casserole. Place the lamb shoulder into the pan and brown on all sides, remove and keep aside.
Add carrot and celery, lightly saute until translucent. Add the dry spices and saute a further two minutes. Add the water and tomato passata, bring to the boil. Add lamb shoulder, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours, it is ready when the lamb falls apart when prodded with your finger.
Allow to cool in braising liquid for 30 minutes, then drain. Strain the stock into a saucepan, discarding the vegetables and allow the lamb to drain. Place the stock over a high heat, skimming regularly and reduce until it is barely a cup of thick stock. Set aside to cool.
While the stock is reducing, peel the lamb shoulder apart, placing the flesh into a large bowl. There should be about 700 g of meat. Season well and when cool, add the heavily reduced stock and mix well.
To form the croquettes, place a large sheet of cling film, two layers thick onto a clean bench top. Spoon the croquette mixture onto the cling film, about 3-4 cm in diameter. Fold the cling wrap over the top of the mix, being careful not to capture any air bubbles under the wrap, then roll the bundle towards you, gathering the ends tightly. Holding the ends, give a roll or two of the bundle on the benchtop, which will tighten the sausage.
Place on a tray in the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight, until the sausage has set firmly.
Once set, cut the croquettes into 6 cm cylinders, crumb with flour, egg mix and breadcrumbs. Repeat crumbing procedure so they have been breadcrumbed twice, then deep fry at 180 C until golden brown (about two minutes). Drain the croquettes and place into a 180 C oven for a further five minutes to heat through.
To make yoghurt dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Check seasoning and keep in fridge.
Serve croquettes with a pinch of sea salt and dollop of yoghurt dressing. This dish is ideally accompanied by a quinoa, pomegranate and tabouli salad, with lots of lemon to cut through the amazing richness of the lamb.