2 – 2.5kg Leg of lamb, bone in
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
2 whole garlic bulbs, cloves separated, peeled and lightly smashed
½ tsp salt
¼ cup (60g) Persian Spice Mix + 2 tbsp extra (see recipe below)
2 onions, peeled, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges, pips removed
1½ cups (375ml) water
To prepare the lamb: lightly score the fat on the lamb. Cut plenty of small deep slits into the lamb for the garlic cloves to fit into.
Place the lamb into a large roasting dish. Drizzle the olive oil over the lamb and stuff the garlic cloves into the slits.
Rub the salt and spice mix all over the lamb, pushing some of it into the slits. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
To cook the lamb: preheat oven to 160°C.
Place the onions and lemon under the lamb. Add the water and the extra 2 tbsp of spice mix to the roasting pan.
Cover tightly with foil, place onto the lowest shelf of the oven and cook for 3 ½ hours.
Baste the lamb with the juices from the bottom of the pan occasionally.
Top up the water if needed. There should be approximately 1 cup of liquid in the bottom of the pan while the lamb is roasting.
After 3 ½ hours of cooking increase the heat to 180°C, remove the foil and roast for a further 20 minutes or until the fat has become crispy. The meat should now easily fall away from the bone.
Remove from the oven. Use a fork to shred the meat into the juices in the bottom of the pan and season to taste.
Serve with pomegranate glazed carrots and kumara or the moroccan carrot salad with toasted pita and feta whip.Persian Spice Mix
Makes 1 cup
vegan, gf, df
It’s far superior to use whole spices and freshly grind them, as the flavour is incredible. If you don’t have any way of grinding them you can use the pre-ground spices, but you will have to grind star anise somehow – try smashing it up using a rolling pin, a rock or a hammer!
You can add this spice mix to slow cooked stews; it’s lovely in pumpkin soup. Cook it with tomatoes, eggplant, courgette and French lentils as a middle eastern version of ratatouille. The options are endless but one thing is certain, as soon as you start grinding this spice mix you’ll want to cook something with it.
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns (or 1 tbsp of ground black pepper)
3 tbsp coriander seeds (or 2 tbsp of ground coriander)
2 tbsp cumin seeds(or 1½ tbsp of ground cumin)
2 tbsp fennel seeds (or 1½ tbsp of ground fennel)
1½ tbsp whole allspice berries (or 1 tbsp of ground allspice)
1½ tbsp cardamon seeds or 80 pods, seeds only (or 1 tbsp of ground cardamom)
4 whole cloves(or ½ tsp of ground cloves)
2 x cinnamon quills, approximately 4cm long (or 2 tbsp of ground cinnamon)
5 whole star anise
2 tbsp smoked paprika
3 tsp salt
Grind all the spices together in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or use your muscles and pound the spices in a mortar and pestle – a great job to give to kids! Store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid in the cupboard for up to 2 months.
This spice mix is delicious rubbed on meats, poultry and fish, or sprinkled over vegetables when roasting them. Serve it sprinkled over hummus or yoghurt. Add 1 tablespoon to ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil as a dip for warm Turkish bread.