Last time we met I promised that our next recipe wouldn’t be as healthy and virtuous as a quinoa salad. Not that hard a promise to fulfil I think you’ll agree! The options are pretty much boundless.
But whilst my mind obviously goes to chocolate, sugar and butter at this junction, we’ll save dessert for another time. Instead, we have a meat fest in store today in the form of a slow roasted spiced leg of lamb.
This is my ultimate lazy dinner party dish. It’s impressive enough to make the crowds go wild but it takes little to no effort to actually make. You can even make it a couple of days in advance and reheat it. Ideal!
The only thing you do need is time. For the perfect falling off the bone, pull apart using forks, leg of lamb takes 6 hours to roast slowly and deliciously in the oven.
The good news is that during those long hours you need be doing nothing other than putting up your feet and watching a marathon session of Breaking Bad. What heaven. Or, if you have a mini-human in your life, you can build up some stacking blocks, knock them down, build them up, knock them down, build them up…you get the idea.
I like to make this with lamb leg as it’s less fatty, which I prefer. But it would be equally delicious with lamb shoulder and you’d also knock a bit of time off the cooking as shoulder will cook faster than leg.
You can either serve this as a traditional roast with all the trimmings (see my notes below about making the gravy/sauce…) or my favourite way is to serve it on a big platter alongside hummus, za’alouk , flat breads and a few big bowls of salad so everyone can dig in and pile their plates high.
Much more fun that way with the added benefit of making the table look bountiful and beautiful.
Slow Roasted Spiced Lamb
1 leg of lamb, bone-in, about 2.5kg
2 onions, peeled, halved and roughly sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
You will also need a large roasting tin, baking paper/parchment, and foil.
You can make this up to 2 days before you plan to eat it. To reheat, wrap the pulled lamb in a foil parcel, place on a baking tray and reheat at 190°c/170°c fan/375°f/gas mark 5 for 40 minutes to make sure it’s piping hot.
NB: If you’d like to serve the lamb with a sauce rather than hummus or baba ganoush, etc, you can use the cooking juices. To do so, it’s best to roast the lamb the day before to give time for the fats to solidify in the fridge overnight enabling you to scoop them off the top easily. This way you can reduce the juices to a lovely non-oily sauce. Drizzle over the top of the lamb before serving on a big platter.
- Preheat your oven to 190°c/170°c fan/375°f/gas mark 5. Mix together the olive oil, all of the spices (not the bay leaves) and salt in a small bowl.
- Scatter the onions into the bottom of a large roasting tin. Place the lamb on top and, using a sharp knife, make some deep slits in it. This will enable the marinade to penetrate the meat. Rub the marinade all over the leg of lamb ensuring everything is covered. Add in the bay leaves then pour 500ml water into the bottom of the tin.
- Take a piece of baking paper/parchment big enough to cover the lamb, scrunch it up and wet it. Place this over the lamb then cover the tin tightly with a double layer of foil.
- Roast in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn the oven temperature down to 150°c/130°c fan/265°f/gas mark 2 and continue to roast for a further 5 hours.
- After a total of 6 hours, when you remove the foil and baking parchment you should find your lamb falling off the bone, ready to be pulled apart using 2 forks. If not, seal it all up again and put it back in the oven for a bit longer checking there is still juice in the bottom of the tin – if not, add in some more water.
- Either serve immediately or wrap well and keep in the fridge for a couple of days.