A whole lamb leg butterflied out, then spiced and seasoned with cumin, fennel, chilli, and coriander. Roasted to a perfect pink and then carved and sitting on top of fragrant pilaf rice.
De-boned and then opened out, this is a fabulous way to treat a leg of lamb. I know that often we are encouraged to cook things on the bone and there are multiple benefits to doing so. But in this case, it is nice to be able to season and marinade the meat thoroughly throughout. Plus, then you can cook the leg with a slightly fiercer heat, which is nice in this context for the meat to take on a little extra colour and flavour.
I roasted this one in the oven, but it would also be perfect for a bbq. Paired with this rice dish and seasoned yoghurt, you’ve got yourself a family feast.
Butterflied leg of lamb, rice pilaf w/ minted garlic yoghurt
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli flakes
- For the rice pilaf
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp whole almonds
½ a bunch of fresh coriander, washed and chopped
450g basmati rice
1 ltr homemade chicken stock
- For the yoghurt
250g natural set yoghurt
½ a bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked from the stalks and finely chopped
2 small cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ an unwaxed lemon
- Start by marinating the lamb:
- Toast the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a hot pan for a couple of minutes and then tip into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Grind until fine and then mix through the chilli flakes, ground cinnamon, and a handful of sea salt.
- Rub the marinade all over the lamb leg and leave to marinade for at least 6 hours. Leave out of the fridge so that it is room temperature when you come to cook it.
- To cook the lamb:
- Preheat your oven to 240°C.
- Rub the butterflied leg with a little olive oil and then lay it on a roasting tray with the fat side facing up.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 175°C and cook for a further 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- For the rice:
- In a pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Then add the onions, garlic, chilli, and cumin seeds. Allow to cook slowly, with a lid on, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
- Add the almonds and Aleppo pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Put the stock in a pan and bring up to a simmer.
- Then add the rice and stir around so the grains are coated in the butter, then add enough stock to cover the rice by about an inch. Stir once, then cover with a cartouche and then a lid.
- Cook on a high heat for 4 minutes, then turn it down to the lowest possible heat and cook for a further 6 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and leave to steam for a further 10 minutes. Do not be tempted to open the lid!
- When you are nearly ready to eat, then remove the lid and stir through the chopped coriander as well as the resting juices from the lamb.
- Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- For the yoghurt:
- Place the yoghurt in a mixing bowl and season with sea salt, and then add the grated garlic, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil. Mix together well and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.