• 1 large pumpkin, 7-8 kilograms
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp baharat or ras-el-hanout spice mix
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 500g cous cous
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 150g dried chopped fruit (apricots, dates, or mixed)
  • 50g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 25g fresh mint leaves


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 120C. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole or frying pan. Brown the rolled lamb shoulder well on all sides, then remove it from the pan. Thinly slice the onions then add them to the pan. Put a tight fitting lid on the casserole then put it in the oven for 3 hours.
  2. Get a big pumpkin, cut away a small hole in the bottom, just big enough for you to empty out all the seeds and stringy bits. Do that, then secure it upside down - with the hole facing upwards. Take the casserole out of the oven, lift out the lamb and remove any butcher’s string before putting the whole joint inside the pumpkin.
  3. In the casserole, you should be left with well-cooked onions and lots of liquid. Put it back on the hob and add the spice mix and salt. Cook for a few minutes then tip in the cous cous. Stir it slowly for a few minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Mix in the chick peas and finally the dried fruit, nuts and fresh mint. Spoon the cous cous into the pumpkin, on top of and all around the lamb.
  4. Put a large oven dish - big enough to hold the pumpkin, on top of the pumpkin to seal off the hole, then carefully flip the whole thing the right way up. Put it back in the oven and cook for another 2 hours. Serve by taking big slices from the top of the pumpkin, to reveal the steaming meat.