1 shoulder of lamb
salt and black pepper
250g medium grain couscous
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
150g dates, stoned and cut into small pieces
50g seedless raisins
100g blanched almonds, chopped coarsely
65g butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons date syrup plus more to pass around in the jar
To garnish: 8 – 12 dates and 8 blanched almonds
Put the joint, skin side up in a baking dish or roasting pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in an oven pre-heated to 250°C for 20 minutes. Then lower the heat to 160°C and cook for 4 - 5 hours until the skin is crisp and brown and the meat is juicy and meltingly tender. Pour off the fat after about 2 hours.
For the stuffing, put the couscous in another baking dish, and add the same volume of warm water – about 300ml, mixed with a little salt, the orange blossom water and cinnamon. Stir well so that the water is absorbed evenly. After about 10 minutes, add the oil, and rub the grain between your hands to air it and break up any lumps. Mix in the remaining ingredients, apart from the butter, cover with foil, and put in the oven with the lamb for the last 20 minutes or until it is steaming hot.
Before serving, cover the meat with the 2 tablespoons of date syrup. Stir the butter into the couscous so that it melts in and is absorbed evenly. With a fork, fluff up the couscous stuffing, breaking up any lumps. Add a little salt to taste, if necessary.
For the garnish, remove the stones from each date and replace them with the blanched almonds. Serve the meat with the couscous stuffing decorated with these dates.