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delectable leg of lamb

plate of leg of lamb, curry sauce, pita, feta sauce, couscous salad, onion rosette, marinated feta, roasted garlic bulb
moroccan inspired leg of lamb dinner

in many households, having leg of lamb for dinner is like roast turkey, only eaten once or twice a year, usually a seasonal treat…very seldom do you see it regularly stocked in the meat department of the local grocery stores…lucky for me, in my neighborhood there is Dar El Salam, a Eurasian market, that always has it on hand, along with many other pantry items I can’t live without

lamb is relatively lean with a very mild flavor, unlike its older brother mutton, which is fattier and has a strong gamey taste that will eventually soften with long, slow cooking…the chops and leg are both tender cuts and only need to be cooked to a med-rare, if you don’t overcook it, the meat will always be tender and juicy

because it is tame in flavor, seasoning is important, don’t over salt it, just let the oils of herb and spices penetrate the meat for a rich, delectable taste…I personally love a Mediterranean or Moroccan approach

this is a special dinner that I have prepared many times for appreciative guests…if you can’t find some of the herbs and spices, feel free to substitute with ones that have similar flavor profiles, but items such as the preserved lemons, black limes, and sumac are commonly stocked in Eurasian markets

grilled leg of lamb

12 garlic cloves

½ preserved lemon, sliced

fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs

1 cup coffee

2 tablespoons preserved lemon juice

herb & spice paste:

1 dry black lime

1 tablespoon sumac

1 tablespoon coarse pink salt

½ tablespoon cracked black pepper

½ tablespoon mustard seed

½ tablespoon dill seed

1 tablespoon coriander seed

1 tablespoon coffee grounds

1 dried chili pepper

½ cup fresh oregano leaves

½ cup fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons EVO

½ preserved lemon


fresh lemon grass and hops vine, soaked in water *

* if lemon grass and hops are unavailable substitute with 1 sliced preserved lemon and 1 cup IPA beer

let lamb sit out to get to room temperature, meanwhile make your paste

using a mortar & pestle, grind all the paste ingredients together, if you don’t have one, use your food processor on pulse but be careful of not over blending!

take lamb out of the mesh, rub one side with half of the paste mixture, reroll herb rubbed side in, and stuff back into the mesh, poke random holes into the meat with the tip of a sharp knife to insert the cloves of garlic, tuck slices of preserved lemon and herb sprigs securely underneath the mesh *you can do this the day before and refrigerate, but bring back to room temp again before cooking

wrap entire roast with water-soaked lemongrass leaves and hops vine, this adds another layer of flavor and helps keep the moisture in, if you don’t have hops vine in your garden you can use just the lemongrass, readily available in Asian shops…if you can't find either, just tuck another half of preserved lemon onto the lamb, pour a cup of IPA beer on top

cook in pan with coffee and lemon juice, 350 degrees, for approximately 20 minutes per lb…I prefer the grill with charcoal on the sides, but you can cook it in the oven

during the last 30 minutes of cooking, brush off the charred herbs…cover the roast with the remaining herb paste, cook until medium rare, take off heat

let sit for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing

serve with the golden curry sauce, couscous salad, grilled onion rosettes, roasted garlic, marinated feta cheese and toasted pita bread

small pot of golden curry sauce and spice rubbed pitas on grill

golden curry sauce

5 cups chopped yellow tomatoes 1 yellow onion, minced 1 yellow bell pepper, minced 2 green chili peppers, minced 1 tablespoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons pink salt 1 teaspoon ginger powder 4 cardamon pods ½ teaspoon turmeric 1 ½ tablespoon curry powder 1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed ¼ cup minced thai basil

cook down the tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, and salt on low heat into a light sauce consistency, add the spices and herbs, allowing to cook for about a half hour to blend the flavors. Serve warm

yields approx. 2 cups

bowls of couscous salad, feta cream sauce and marinated feta

couscous salad

1 lrg. English cucumber, small diced

1 heaping cup cherry tomato halves

½ cup kalamata olive halves

1 banana pepper, thinly sliced

½ red onion, minced

¼ cup mint, chopped

1 cup cooked couscous

1 lemon, the zest & juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup EVO

lightly toss all the ingredients, chill for one hour, fluff with fork before serving

feta cream sauce

¼ lb. feta crumbles

4 oz. cream cheese

½ cup yogurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons minced mint

1 tablespoon minced chives

blend all ingredients well, use food processor if want very creamy, or mix by hand for a more crumbly texture

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