Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Lamb Shawarma
The British-by-way-of-Jerusalem chef Yotam Ottolenghi cooked this recipe as part of what he called “a Middle Eastern take on a proper English garden party.” He raises high the street-meat ideal of shawarma, resulting in a deeply flavored cut of lamb. The lamb would ideally meet the spice mix the day before it is cooked, so it takes some time, but not much work. The first 11 ingredients, known as Lebanese spice mix, make a versatile mixture that can be used to marinate fish, meat or vegetables.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 2teaspoons black peppercorns
- ½teaspoon cardamom pods
- ¼teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1star anise
- ½cinnamon stick
- 1tablespoon grated nutmeg, about half a pod
- ¼teaspoon ground ginger
- 1tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1tablespoon dried sumac
- ¾tablespoon kosher salt
- 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- ¾cup chopped cilantro, stems and leaves included
- 4tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ½cup peanut or other neutral oil
- 1leg of lamb, on the bone, about 5 1/2-6 1/2 pounds
Step 1Put the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, fenugreek, fennel, cumin, star anise and cinnamon in a cast-iron pan set over medium-high heat and dry-roast them for a minute or two, until the spices begin to pop and release their aromas. Take care not to burn them. Add the nutmeg, ground ginger and paprika, and toss for a few more seconds, just to heat them, then transfer to a spice grinder. Process the spices into powder. Transfer to a medium bowl, and stir in the sumac, salt, fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and oil, and stir to combine.
Step 2Use a small sharp knife to score the leg of lamb in a few places, making half-inch-deep slits through the fat and meat. Put the lamb in a large roasting pan and rub the marinade all over it, using your hands to massage the meat. Turn the lamb fat-side up, cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it aside on a countertop for at least a couple of hours, or preferably, rest it overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 3Heat oven to 350. Remove the aluminum foil, and place the lamb in the oven. Roast for approximately 4 1/2 hours, or until the meat is completely tender. After 30 minutes of roasting, add about a cup of boiling water to the pan, and use this liquid to baste the meat every hour or so. (Add more water, as needed, making sure there is always a little in the bottom of the pan.) After 90 minutes or so, cover the lamb with aluminum foil to prevent the spices from burning. Once the lamb is done, remove it from the oven, and leave to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving and serving.