Friday 8 January 2016

My Middle Eastern spiced lamb

Happy New Year - and welcome back to my blog! After having been on a "sabbatical" for almost a year normal services have now resumed and I'm looking forward to tantalising you with LOADS more of my mouthwatering recipes (even if I say so myself...).

I also gained a delightful little sous chef last February and I'm happy to report that Alfie is as obsessed with patisserie work and butchery as I am - here he is having YET AGAIN stolen his (and my) favorite pastry brush out of the dishwasher:

... and here he's carrying out one of his strident "quality control checks" on the lamb shoulder bones from today's recipe:

So what's on the menu? Well it's an absolutely stunning dish which everyone who's ever tasted it just LURRVVES! It's packed with Middle Eastern flavours and I serve it at least once a month - either as our Sunday "roast" (it's my - almost-vegetarian - daughter's favourite "meat" and she could eat it every day she says) or for lunch with friends. It started off as a recipe from an 11-year-old issue of olive magazine, but I've changed/adapted/simplified it over the years - until it was just perfect (and easy)... Do give it a try!

1,5  - 2 kg boned and butterflied shoulder of lamb*
1 tbsp ground cumin 
1 tbsp ground coriander 
1 tbsp paprika (smoked if you have it)
2 tbsp turmeric or 1/4 tsp of (ground) saffron 
1 tbsp cardamon pods 
½ tsp ground nutmeg 
1 tsp cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tsp black peppercorns (optional)**
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
200 – 250 ml plain yogurt
1 lemon - zest and juice
a handful of chopped fresh coriander and/or mint (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220°/200° fan oven.
Line a large roasting tin/tray with tin foil and place a big-enough roasting rack on top. 
Grind/crush the cardamon, cloves and cinnamon stick in a coffee/spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Add to the yogurt followed by the other spices and mix in the garlic, lemon zest and juice. Give it all a good stir until all the spices are amalgamated.
Turn the lamb over on your chopping board so that the "top" (the curved side) is now underneath. Using a spatula, coat the underside with approx. 1/3 of the spice mix, then place the meat top side up on the roasting rack. Smear the rest of the mix evenly all over.
Cook for 50 – 75 mins - the coating will get nicely charred in places, and the meat is done when a metal skewer pushed into the thickest part comes out very warm/hot when you put it to your lips.
Serve with the coriander/mint sprinkled over.

Serves 6.

I serve the lamb with a creamy potato gratin (not authentic but it goes SO well with the spice kick of the meat!) and simply boiled green beans tossed in olive oil, chopped garlic and mint.

*I prefer shoulder of lamb over leg every time - it's more succulent without being too fatty (as leg can often be) and it's much cheaper: I get it from my local North African butcher for €8.99/kg.
You can ask your butcher to de-bone and butterfly the shoulder for you, but I always do it myself - it really isn't difficult to do! Here's a useful video to show you how it's done.
I often buy a larger shoulder ie 2.5 kg and, after butterflying it, I put half in the freezer for the next meal  - easy-peasy!

**I've found over the years that the nutmeg gives enough heat to the dish, but feel free to add the peppercorns for an extra hit - or you could add a tablespoon or two of harissa.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This sounds LOVELY! We get a bag of organic vegetables each week which taste out of this world. I always do a roast on a Saturday often lamb - love the blog!