Monday, 22 August 2016

Wood Oven Week - Moroccan Lamb

As long as it hasn't been raining, we have tried to either light the barbecue or cook in the wood oven as much as possible this summer. We haven't found the time to get away to the sun so far this year - so instead we have tried to recreate that relaxed holiday feeling in the evenings when we are together at the weekends.

So for this week I have decided to feature a meal we had last weekend. The sun was out and we cooked a leg of lamb, aubergines and courgettes in the wood oven. It all worked brilliantly and reminded us of our holidays in Greece - the hot smells of the wood burning in the oven, bowls of olives on the table and lots of wine - we even managed a glass of Mastika to end the meal.........

So for today's post I'm going to concentrate on the leg of lamb part of the meal (I will deal with the aubergines, courgettes and any accompaniments later in the week) I call it Moroccan lamb because the marinade is very loosely based on a recipe I found in an old Moroccan cook book years ago -over time it has slowly changed and adapted, so it probably only now has a passing resemblance to the original recipe......

Recipe - enough for 1 whole leg of lamb

For the marinade

4 cloves garlic
1 large bunch parsley - make this a big bunch! it forms the base of the marinade
a teaspoon each of ground cumin, paprika, chilli powder, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander seeds, and peppercorns
half teaspoon allspice berries
a big pinch of salt
1 tablespoon honey
juice and zest of 2 lemons
olive oil.

Fresh rosemary branches and a few fresh lavender spikes
Large leg of lamb

To prepare the marinade you will need a blender or mixer with a sharp blade. Place the garlic, parsley and lemon juice in the blender and whizz to form a paste. Grind up the peppercorns, allspice berries and coriander seeds in pestle and mortar. Add these to the blender along with all the rest of the spices.
Pour in your honey, lemon zest and salt - give it all another whizz to combine.
Add a little olive oil and you should now have a thick paste. If it's too thick add a little more olive oil. If it's too thin don't worry it will still be fine.

Place the leg of lamb on a backing tray, pat the skin with kitchen paper to dry it and rub all of the marinade into the skin - really coat it. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 or 3 hours - over night would be perfect.

Remove the lamb from the fridge about half an hour before cooking.

You can cook the lamb on a barbecue, in a wood oven or in a conventional over (200C/Gas 6)

If you are going to cook in an oven or wood oven make sure you use a heavy based pan - a cast iron skillet is perfect - Lay the rosemary and lavender in the pan, place the leg of lamb on top and then pour half a cup water into the base. Cover with foil and place in the oven for an hour.
After the hour is up remove the foil place back in for another 20-30 minutes to brown up the top.
We like our lamb pink so that cooking time is perfect - if you like yours 'less pink' leave it to cook a little longer before removing the foil.

If you would like to cook this on the barbecue, light the coals and leave until they have greyed. Dip the herbs in water and then on the grid followed by the lamb on top. Pop the barbecue lid on if you have one, if not cover the leg with a couple of layers of foil and leave to cook for similar timings to the oven. After an hour remove the foil, lift the lamb off the herbs and rotate the leg to get it browning on all sides.

Whichever way you decide to cook your leg of lamb, once your happy it's cooked to your liking remove from the heat and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Have a very happy monday
Love Lizx