It’s finally the weekend and what better time to slow-roast. Slow roasting can often be the easiest form of cooking and a nice cut of meat, like leg of lamb rubbed in spices, makes not only a delightful meal, but one with not much work involved. I’m a fan of Jamie Oliver from London, because he’s a real chef who walks his talk and creates delicious food with fresh ingredients, without it being too fancy or complicated. I adapted this recipe from watching him on PBS and I think it’s a real winner.
Ras el Hanout, is a North African blend of warming spices like cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg and mace, found in most grocery stores today. The mixture of herbs when applied to meat, like lamb, offers a fragrance and taste that after a six-hour braising period, becomes mouth-watering. In this recipe, the lamb is roasted on top of dried chickpeas and tomatoes, very simple pantry items that give this dish a Moroccan flair. After braising, the lamb becomes tender and juicy, and blends so nicely into the sauce when pulled with a fork, similar to pulled pork.
The delicate chickpeas resting in a lemon-tomato liquid become the platform in which the shredded meat is presented. This recipe will feed a small crowd and probably leave you with a few leftovers to transform into taco or pasta night during the week, or they can be reheated as originally made. This is an easy weekend meal to share with some friends.
5 pound bone-in leg of lamb
3 tablespoons Ras el Hanout
2 cups dried chickpeas, not canned
28 ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
1 preserved lemon, diced or zest of 2 lemons
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rub lamb with Ras el Hanout, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, set aside. In a large roasting pan or casserole, add dried chickpeas. Pour tomatoes over top and break apart with fingers. Add preserved lemon, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and toss to combine.
- Pour chicken broth and 1 cup water over top of chickpeas, along with bay leaves. Place rubbed lamb on top and cover with foil, seal. Place in oven to roast for 6 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove and let rest in juices for 15 minutes before shredding. Ladle broth with chickpeas into bowls and top with lamb. Sprinkle each bowl with cilantro before serving. Enjoy!