Lamb Shawarma

Another winner from Jerusalem. I made some minor changes, mostly because TJs had a boneless leg of lamb. This dish is amazing, the meat literally melts in your mouth. Serve with light tahini, flat bread and crisp salad.

2 tsp black peppercorns
5 cloves
½ tsp cardamom pods
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 TBSP cumin seeds
1 star anise
½ a cinnamon stick
½ a nutmeg, grated
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 TBSP sweet paprika
1 TBSP sumac
¾ TBSP salt
1 oz fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2/3 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c peanut oil
3 – 4 lb leg of lamb

Put the first eight ingredients in a cast-iron pan and dry-roast on medium–high heat for a minute or two, until the spices begin to pop and release their aroma – take care not to burn them. Add the nutmeg, ginger and paprika, toss for a few seconds, just to heat them, then transfer the whole lot to a spice grinder. Process the spices to a uniform powder, then transfer to a medium bowl and stir in all the remaining ingredients, apart from the lamb and 1 c water.

Use a small, sharp knife to score the leg of lamb in a few places, making slits through the fat and meat to allow the marinade to seep in. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and rub the marinade all over; use your hands to massage the meat well. Cover the pan with foil and set aside for at least a couple of hours or overnight, in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 325. Put the lamb in the oven with its fatty side facing up. Roast for a total of about four and a half hours, until the meat is completely tender.

After 30 minutes of roasting, add about 1 c of boiling water to the pan and use this to baste the meat every hour or so. Add more water, as needed, making sure there is always about 1/4 inch in the bottom of the pan. For the last three hours of cooking, cover the lamb with the foil to prevent the spices from burning.

Once cooked, remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Serves 6 – 8

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