Friday, April 29, 2016

Lamb "Shawarma"

I've been wanting to get on-trend with Ottolenghi/Tamimi for a while now, so when I planned our Passover this menu this year, I used it as a chance to embrace a "Jerusalem" theme for the meal.

I gave their "Lamb Shawarma" recipe to Mom to execute and she and brother Ignacio did a great job. I put shawarma in quotes because this is not lamb shaved off a spit. Lamb is a great favorite of mine and I was really pleased with how this turned out.

The rest of the menu came together nicely. Of course, there was Mom's perfect unleavened bread. As suggested in the lamb recipe, I made a harissa-based spread that I'm not sure was necessary for me personally. I made a salad inspired by the serving suggestion for the lamb and another recipe in the book-- tomato, onion, cucumber, parsley, and cilantro, dressed in a lemon sumac vinaigrette, with fried spiced chickpeas. I made a Jerusalem rice and lentil dish, mejadra. S. contributed a beautiful, delicately spiced fruit salad. Of course, we always have brown eggs (thanks S.!) and charoset (thanks I.!) and grape juice (thanks Mom!) Dessert was lemon-almond macaroons from a Joan Nathan recipe and sugar-free rhubarb pie.

Lamb Shawarma, adapted from "Jerusalem" by Ottolenghi/Tamimi

2 t black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1/2 t cardamom pods-- I used ground
1 t fennel seeds
1 T cumin seeds
1 star anise-- I used ground
1/2 cinnamon stick -- I used ground
1/2 whole nutmeg, grated-- I used ground
1/4 t ground ginger
1 T sweet paprika
1 T sumac
2 1/2 t salt
scant 1 oz fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 c chopped cilantro, stems and leaves
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c oil
1 bone-in leg of lamb, about 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 lb (used boneless, ~4 1/2 lb)
1 c boiling water

Put first 8 ingredients in pan, dry-roast over medium high heat for a minute or two, until the spices begin to release their aromas. Don't burn them. Add nutmeg, ginger, and paprika, toss for a few more seconds, just to heat them, then transfer to a spice grinder. Process to a uniform powder. Add the remaining ingredients except the lamb (I now realize I forgot to, which is terrible; and the fact that I liked the result any way makes me want to make it again and make it right).

Use a small, sharp knife to score the leg in a few places, making slits 2/3 in deep through the fat and meat to allow the marinade to seep in. (We used a boneless leg, and didn't want it to fall apart if we took the netting off. So I. speared it-- a lot and pretty deep I think-- between the netting and left it on).

Place in a large roasting pan and rub the marinade all over the lamb; use your hands to massage the meat well. Cover the pan with foil and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 325.

Put the lamb in the oven with its fatty side up and roast for a total of 4 1/2 hours, until the meat is completely tender. After 30 minutes of roasting, add boiling water to the pan and use this liquid to base the meat every hour or so. (Add water as needed to make sure there is always ~1/4 inch in the bottom of the pan. We didn't have to do this). For the last 3 hours (so, after 90 minutes), cover the lamb with lid or foil to prevent the spices from burning. Once done, remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Serve with pita (or, in our case, unleavened bread) with chopped onion, parsley, sumac, cucumber, tomato, and they suggest a spread of 120g chopped canned tomatoes, 20 g harissa, 20 g tomato paste, 1 T olive oil, salt, pepper.

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