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Stress Relieving Za’atar lamb from Chef Ozgur, Six Senses Istanbul

Melissa, or lemon balm leaves infuse minty, bright and citrusy notes to recipes and are used for their digestive and calming properties. Adding apple cider vinegar to the broth helps to extract calcium and collagen, great for your hair, skin and bone strength. Try our version of the traditional Turkish drink Ayran on the side too!

Four servings

  • 500 g marinated lamb shoulder (see recipe below)
  • 1 whole carrot, peeled, cut in chunks
  • 1 whole onion, ends removed, cut in quarters
  • 2 cloves garlic, skins and ends removed, smashed
  • 1 stalk celery stick, ends removed, cut in chunks
  • 1 whole lemon, zested
  • 1 L lamb stock (see recipe below)
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 g (1 handful or ½ cup) Melissa leaves (lemon balm)
  • 5 g (1 handful or ½ cup) Za’atar leaves
  • 5 g (2 sprigs) rosemary
  • Pomegranate glaze (see recipe below)
  • Herb salad (see recipe below)
  • Ayran (see recipe below)
  • Flake salt, for finish
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Make me

Prep: Pre-heat the oven to 175˚ C (347˚ F).

Sear: Heat a pan with oil over high heat and place the marinated lamb shoulder in the pan. Sear on both sides until a nice crust forms. Transfer to a casserole dish.

Flavor: Add the cut vegetables, lamb stock, butter and fresh herbs inside the casserole dish and cover.

Roast: Cook for 2.5 hours, until it becomes tender and juicy. Remove and place on a serving board.

Glaze: Baste the lamb with pomegranate glaze using a brush. Season with flaked salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Serve:  Present lamb with the beautiful garden herb salad and a refreshing Ayran drink.

GF = gluten-free | SF = sugar-free

Final Dish Photo Ozgur

Marinated lamb shoulder

  • 500 g lamb shoulder. deboned
  • 5 g (1 handful or ½ cup) Melissa (lemon balm)
  • 5 g (1 handful or ½ cup) fresh Za’atar leaves
  • 5 g (2 sprigs) rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole lemon, zested
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin and ends removed, smashed
  • 5 g (½ tbsp) black peppercorn
  • 2 g (1 tsp) juniper berries
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil

Make me

Crush: Add the black pepper and juniper berries to a spice blender or using a mortar and pestle and crush/pulse until broken down.

Tear: Using your hands, tear fresh herbs into large pieces, keep stems.

Marinate: Place all herbs and spices in a bowl, stir to combine. Add the lamb shoulder. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and black pepper. Keep in the fridge overnight.

Lamb stock

  • 250 g lamb bones
  • 1 whole carrot, peeled, cut in chunks
  • 1 pc of onion, ends removed, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 stalk celery, cut in chunks
  • 1 whole fennel, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 g (½ tbsp) black peppercorn
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar*

Make me

Pre-Heat. Set oven to 356° F (180° C).

Roast: Place the lamb bones on a baking tray in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.

Simmer: Place the lamb bones in a pot. Add the vegetables and herbs, pour cold water to cover. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for three hours, until the stock thickens and becomes nicely flavored. Set aside.

Recipe notes:

*Adding apple cider vinegar to bone broth helps to extract minerals from the bones.

Pomegranate glaze

  • 250 ml pomegranate juice (about 2 pomegranates, seeded, or purchase juice)
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 2 g (1 handful) Melissa leaves (lemon balm)

Make me

Juice: Pass the pomegranate seeds through a slow juicer.

Reduce: Pour the juice into a saucepan, add the honey and small bunch of Melissa leaves. Simmer for five minutes on low. Strain the herbs and return the liquid to the pan. Slowly reduce the juice until it is less than half the amount and becomes a nice glaze texture. Set aside.

Garden herb salad

  • 15 g (one bunch) stinging nettle
  • 15 g (2 cups) wild purslane
  • 5 g (1 handful or ½ cup) Melissa leaves (lemon balm)
  • 3 g (1 handful or ¼ cup) fresh Za’atar leaves
  • 5 g (1 handful or ½ cup) mint leaves
  • 15 g goat cheese
  • 15 g walnut, toasted and crushed
  • Half of one pomegranate, seeded
  • 15 g green olives
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Make me

Rinse: Wash and strain all the fresh herbs and pat dry with kitchen towel or paper.

Tear: Using your hands, tear the fresh herbs to the size that you wish to have.

Mix: Add the herbs to a mixing bowl, along with green olives, goat cheese crumbles, walnut and pomegranate seeds. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and toss to combine. Set aside.

Herb substitutions

stinging nettle, purslane = mint, parsley, basil

Melissa (lemon balm) Ayran

  • 300 g buffalo milk yoghurt
  • 3 g melissa leaves (lemon balm)
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 200 ml mineral water

Blend me

Blitz: Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until it becomes foamy.

Serve: Pour the Ayran drink into a glass with ice cubes and garnish with a bunch of fresh Melissa (lemon balm) herbs. Set aside.

Recipe notes:

Ayran is a traditional Turkish drink made with salted yogurt. It’s a refreshing drink that promotes gut health. Our version infuses minty, bright, citrusy notes of lemon balm for a herbaceous twist.


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