Updated: Jan 6, 2021
Haneeth is a Yemeni style slow roasted lamb dish that literally falls off the bone. This dish is a crowd pleaser and is probably one of the best ways to enjoy lamb. The meat is marinated overnight and then cooked for at least 2 hours (often even longer). There are many recipes for haneeth and every Yemeni family has their own way of making it.
This recipe is a slight twist from my grandmother's original recipe. She has been using this recipe since she lived in Yemen and I am so blessed that she was able to teach me her method. Her traditional recipe uses 2 bunches of green onions (which I do often), however I sometimes replace one of the bunches with a bunch of chives. The chives give a stronger flavor which translated beautifully to the final product.
The ingredients below will feed about 5-6 adults
For the lamb, ask your butcher to cut large hand-sized chunks (with the bone-in) of lamb shoulder and necks. These are the most tender areas and will be perfect for haneeth. You can use the legs of lamb too, but that will likely require longer cooking times.
2 lamb necks & 1 lamb shoulder (bone in) Large hand-sized chunks لحم غنمي بالعظم. رقبتين و كتف
1 bunch green onion ربطة بصل أخضر
1 bunch chives ربطة كراث او ربطة بصل أخضر ثانية
2 tbsp cumin ملعقتين ك كمون
1 tbsp black pepper ملعقة ك فلفل أسود
2 tbsp turmeric ملعقتين ك كركم
2 tbsp salt ملعقتين ك ملح
6-8 dry bay leaves حبات ورق غار
6-7 cardamom pods حبات هيل
5-6 cloves حبات زر
4 medium cinnamon sticks حبات متوسطة قرفة
3 tbsp room temperature butter ثلاث ملاعق زبدة لينة
1 cup high quality olive oil كباية زيت زيتون
2-3 dried lemon or lime حبات ليمون مجفف
In a food processor, blend all ingredients except for the dried lime/lemon. The marinade should be smooth and all the whole spices should be completely broken down.
Massage the marinade into the lamb pieces and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, prepare a large cast iron pot by drizzling 1/2 a cup of olive oil in the bottom. If you don't have a large enough cast iron pot, use two of them or the heaviest big pot you own. A classic roasting pan should work too - just use several layers of aluminum foil to cover it if it doesn't have its own lid.
Step 1: Bake at 450F for one hours (covered)
Step 2: Toss the meat. Bake at 350F for 30 min (covered).
Step 3: Toss the meat again. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes one more time (covered).
Step 4: Toss the meat one last time. Bake at 350F for 10-20 minutes (uncovered) so that the top layer of meat browns.
Serve immediately. Garnish with sliced green onions or parsley.
If your lamb doesn't release enough liquid throughout the baking process, add some water. to the bottom of the pot.
If you halved the recipe and only have one layer of meat, make sure to flip each piece during steps 2-4 instead of tossing the meat pieces. Also baste the meat pieces with the oils from the bottom of the pot.
If you do not have access to bone-in lamb, you can use oxtail instead. Boneless lamb pieces is NOT a good alternative.