Recipes, Lamb Recipes

Cannon of lamb, jewelled couscous & chermoula

Lightly spiced, then pan-roasted, and finished in the oven, this tender cut is a perfect match for a couscous that is full of little treats. With a vibrant green chermoula on the side, it feels like a little trip to the Levant.

I love the concept of a jewelled couscous — where something simple and plain is flecked with nuts, dried fruits, and herbs. Lots of little jewels, popping with flavour and intrigue as you munch your way through. Pistachios green like emeralds, apricots the orange of ambers, and the raisins dark like a ruby (this one might be a bit of a stretch). It has a mystique and charm to it, which is fun. Plus, it is very delicious, which is also fun.

If this is your first encounter with chermoula, then strap in for a flavour ride. Basically a herb dressing or condiment, bright green in flavour and colour, it is a friendly and welcome kick of acidity and zest.

Cannon of lamb, jewelled couscous & chermoula

Cannon of lamb, jewelled couscous & chermoula

Recipe by

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 450g Cannon of Lamb

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled 

  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced

  • ½ tsp ground cumin seed

  • ½ tsp ground coriander seed

  • For the couscous
  • 200g couscous

  • 200ml homemade chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons of pistachio nuts, toasted and roughly chopped 

  • 1 tbsp of almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 1 handful of dried apricots, roughly chopped

  • 1 tbsp of raisins, soaked in a little apple cider vinegar

  • ½ a bunch of fresh parsley, leaves picked from the stalks

  • ½ a bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked from the stalk

  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed

  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed

  • For the chermoula
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander

  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper flakes

  • 6 strands of saffron, in a tablespoon of warm water

  • 2 unwaxed lemons

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed

Directions

  • Remove the lamb from the fridge and its packaging and rub with a little olive oil and then ½ a teaspoon of ground cumin and ground coriander. Rub the meat well and then leave to marinade for 2 hours.
  • To begin the couscous
  • Place the couscous in a sensibly sized bowl and add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix together well and set to one side.
  • Take a pan and add a splash of olive oil, the diced red onions, and 2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced, with a pinch of salt. Saute over a low heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, until softened.
  • Add a teaspoon each of the cumin and coriander plus ½ a teaspoon of Aleppo peppers, and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  • Put the chicken stock into the pan and bring to a boil.
  • Pour the contents of the pan onto the couscous, stir, and then cover with cling film to seal. Leave to one side.
  • Prepare the jewels — put the pistachios, raisins, almonds, and apricots in a bowl. Roughly chop half of the mint and half of the parsley and add to the bowl. Then zest one of the lemons, also adding to the bowl.
  • For the chermoula
  • For the chermoula, put the coriander and the remaining mint and parsley in a food processor or blender along with the saffron, juice of 1 of the lemons, 1 clove of garlic finely grated, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cumin, ½ a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper, the smoked paprika, and a good pinch of salt. Blitz until smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary — it may need more lemon juice.
  • Return to the couscous
  • Remove the cling film from the bowl and fork the couscous through. Then add the jewels, stir together, and check for seasoning. Adjust as necessary.
  • To cook the cannon
  • Preheat your oven to 160°C.
  • Season lamb generously with sea salt.
  • Place a cast-iron skillet over a medium to low heat with ½ a tablespoon of oil.
  • Add the cannon of lamb to the pan with the fat side facing down and cook like this for 3-4 minutes to render the fat.
  • Turn the heat up and seal off the rest of the lamb, rotating regularly for an even cook.
  • Once all sides are nicely browned, transfer the skillet to the oven and set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer the lamb onto a plate.
  • Leave to rest somewhere warm for 8-10 minutes, before carving and serving.