Friday, November 7, 2014

Oven Roasted Indian-Spiced Leg of Lamb

This Indian-inspired yogurt marinade made with ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, crushed chilli, fennel, and lime juice, lends a wonderfully exotic and delicious flavour to a classic bone-in leg of lamb. Allowed to marinate overnight, the lamb is simply brought back to room temperature an hour before roasting at 425°F for 20 minutes. The oven is then reduced to 350°F as the lamb continues to roast for another 80 minutes and becomes gorgeous, glisteny and golden brown with a lovely pink centre. Be sure to cover it loosely with foil halfway through roasting to prevent the marinade from becoming too brown. While the lamb cooks is the ideal time to prepare a healthy and delicious Ottolenghi-inspired Lentil, Onion & Roasted Tomato Salad as well as a cool and refreshing Cucumber Raita to serve with the meal — a plate of cocktail size samosas would be a great appetizer and make a savoury and satisfying interlude between tasks. Allowing the lamb to rest for 20 minutes before carving, provides ample time to warm up some crisp pappadam and prepare the final garnishes for the Raita and Lentil Salads before dinner is served. Wildly aromatic, gloriously golden and full of fabulous flavour, this succulent Indian-style leg of lamb is a delicious alternative to a traditional Sunday roast.

A thick vibrant Indian yogurt marinade of ginger, garlic, tomato purée, lime juice, cumin, turmeric, crushed chili flakes, fennel seeds, salt and pepper

Small incisions are made all over the leg of lamb with a small knife

The thick marinade is massaged well into the lamb, coating it liberally with the paste, 
then covered  and chilled for 24 hours

The lamb is brought to room temperature after marinating 24 hours, then roasted at 425°F for 20 minutes; the temperature is then reduced to 350°F and roasted a further 1 hr 20 min

Half way through the final roast, the leg is covered loosely in tin foil the roasted until cooked through; the leg should be allowed to site 20 minutes before carving

Finely sliced red onions and marinated with white wine vinegar and lemon and lime juice

Olive oil, cumin, minced garlic and cilantro are added

A can of lentils are combined with the mixture and allowed to marinate until the lamb is ready

A day before, cherry tomatoes were halved, tossed with olive oil and placed on a foil lined baking sheet at 425°F for 45 minutes

The roasted tomatoes become sweet and caramelized

The cherry tomatoes roasted a day before have been chilled overnight

The roasted tomatoes are added to the lentils and served on a platter with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, garnished with chopped cilantro

One English cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

Greek yogurt, lemon juice and crushed fennel seeds are added

Just before serving, fresh mint and a dash of olive oil is added to the raita

Pappadams cooked in the microwave with paper towel is a low fat alternative to pan frying them

Cocktail size samosas make a tasty appetizer before an Indian-inspired feast

The lamb, loosely covered with foil and allowed to relax 20 minutes, is ready to be carved and served 

Indian Roast Leg of Lamb
Serves 6

4 lb leg of lamb, bone in

2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, finely grated
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato purée
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seed, lightly crushed
handful coriander, finely chopped

Stir together the marinade ingredients and season with 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 1 1/2 tsp flaky Maldon salt. Slash the lamb several times on both sides, then massage the marinade all over it. Seal in a large resealable plastic bag or non-metallic container and chill overnight, or at least 6 hours. Allow the lamb sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Score the top 2 or 3 times for an attractive final presentation.

Heat oven to 425°F. Place the lamb into a foil-lined roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 375°F and roast for 80 minutes for lamb that’s pink near the bone. Cover loosely with foil halfway through cooking or once the marinade has charred and the meat looks golden.

Leave the lamb to rest for 20 minutes before carving, then serve with Lentil & Tomato Salad, Cucumber Raita and crisp pappadam.

Lentil, Tomato & Onion Salad
Serves 6

1 19 oz can lentils, rinsed
Juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
12-16 cherry tomatoes, halved and roasted
1/8 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the tomatoes together in a large bowl with 1/8 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, in one layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. This can be done a day before.Mix the citrus juices, vinegar and a pinch of salt in a salad bowl, then toss in the onion rings. After a few minutes they'll soften and turn pink. Whisk in the oil, cumin and garlic to the onions, then add the lentils, cilantro and roasted tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cucumber Raita Salad
Serves 6

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 medium English cucumber, peeled, deseeded and sliced
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp lightly crushed fennel seeds
2 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the yogurt with the sliced cucumbers, lemon juice and fennel seeds. Season with salt and white pepper and chill until needed. Just before serving, fold in the chopped mint and olive oil.