>> Friday, April 24, 2009
Moroccan recipes : Moroccan spiced leg of lamb
1 leg of lamb, skinned, boned and butterflied open
4 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 dried red chillies
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 fat cloves garlic, peeled
grated zest of 2 lemons
1. Get your butcher to skin, bone out and butterfly the leg of lamb for you.
The idea is to end up with a large piece of meat of as even a thickness as
possible – no part more than 2” thick. Or do it yourself (see below).
2. Remove seeds from cardamom pods and toast them along with the cumin,
coriander, fenugreek, fennel and chillies in a small dry frying pan. It will
only take a few minutes – they’re ready when they start to smell great.
3. Grind the toasted spices up in an electric spice grinder or
with a pestle and mortar along with all the other spices and the bay leaves.
4. Pound garlic with a pestle and mortar, or smash it to a pulp with the back
of a knife. Using a little salt helps as it acts as an abrasive.
5. Mix garlic and spices in a bowl, along with enough olive oil to lubricate it
into a loose paste. Zest lemons over the bowl (so as to catch the oils that
are sprayed out) and stir to combine.
6. Around 6 hours before it’s time to cook, season the meat on both sides with
a good, even sprinkling of salt. Make sure the thicker areas get more salt
than the thinner areas. Place lamb in a large container and rub the spice
paste all over both sides. Store in the fridge, covered.
7. 1 hour before it’s time to cook take lamb out of fridge to bring to room
temperature. Get the grill (BBQ) really hot, if you have one, or
alternatively heat oven to 260C (500F) and find a rack you can fit over or
in a large roasting dish/tray.
8. Roast the lamb until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the
thickest part reads 49C (120F), approximately 25 mins. The lamb should
still feel a little springy to the touch. If it feels hard, you’ve over-cooked it.
NB You should turn the meat over once or twice during cooking. Once
done, place on a cutting board, loosely ‘tent’ with foil and let sit for 10
mins. During this time the juices and heat will distribute themselves and
the internal temperature will rise by a few more degrees. (NB These
instructions are for medium-rare meat, which is by far the nicest way to
have lamb. If you want it more safely on the medium side, cook until the
temperature reads 55C (130F).)
9. Slice the meat fairly thinly at an angle and across the grain. The grain
direction will change periodically as the leg is made up of several different
muscles, each with their own grain direction. Serve with pita bread, rice or
couscous, some delicious sauces such as harissa and minty yoghurt, and a
fresh salad of some sort.