Spiced Leg of Lamb with Nutty Israeli Couscous
1 hour 5 minutes
Kashmiri Masala combines with mustard, yogurt and other spices in this roasted leg of lamb dish, made complete with an equally flavorful couscous containing toasted pine nuts.
Mary Mehrmand, from the Floyd Cardoz Masala Recipe Contest, www.getmeez.com
3.5 lbs boneless leg of lamb — take out of the fridge for one hour before roasting
1 medium yellow onion, sliced — use to raise the lamb off the roasting pan
½ tsp cinnamon stick
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp white peppercorns
1 Tbsp Kashmiri Masala
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 Tbsp full-fat yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 sprig fresh rosemary — sprig, finely chopped, do not substitute for dry
2 medium quince — optional for perfuming the meat
1 large shallot
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 fresh bay leaves
4 juniper berries
Olive oil — enough to cover the shallots
1 cup Israeli couscous (pearl)
⅓ cup raw pine nuts
3 Tbsp shallot
Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste
Measure the dry ingredients before mixing in a small bowl.
Measure the yogurt and mustard, mix with chopped fresh rosemary.
Take the leg of lamb out of the fridge one hour before preparing to roast. The meat should be as close to room temperature as possible before proceeding. Preheat the oven to 380°F.
Score the fat cap with a sharp knife, making sure you don’t cut through the meat. This allows the spice mixture to penetrate through and crisp up the fat during roasting.
Quince is completely optional and is used only to scent the lamb. If in season, you can use two medium sized fruits to scatter around the roasting pan.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brush on the bottom of roasting pan. Place the onion rings in the pan and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
Rub the entire leg of lamb with the yogurt and mustard mixture, let it sit for a few minutes.
Distribute the entire dry spice mix all over the meat, making sure to cover every inch.
At this time, if using quince, scatter them around the meat, pushing underneath the lamb if there is space and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Place lamb in the oven.
While the meat is roasting, make the shallot-infused oil. Start by cutting the shallot in half. Add rosemary, bay leaves, and juniper berries into a small sauce pan with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cover all ingredients with as much olive oil as needed and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the meat is roasting and oil is infusing, prepare your couscous ingredients with one cup of Israeli couscous. Sauté the couscous in shallot-infused oil until toasted.
Add ⅓ cup of raw pine nuts and toast together with couscous until slightly golden but not browned.
Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on medium heat.
Taste the couscous after 8 minutes to check for doneness. If it’s chewy, let it boil for 2 minutes more. Taste again and when it’s done, remove from the heat.
Turn off the heat and let it rest covered for 2 minutes. Add a drizzle of olive oil and fluff up with a fork.
The meat is done when your thermometer reaches 130° for medium rare - the onions on the bottom, and the quince (if using) can be discarded at this time.
Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before carving at an angle towards the thickest part of the meat.
Fluff the couscous and spoon onto the dish. Slice the lamb and serve alongside couscous.
Garnish with micro greens and finely chopped chives. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the meat prior to serving. A few spears of simply baked asparagus could be added as an additional green, but completely optional.
Alternatively, the meat can be served cut in smaller pieces over couscous.
- This size of lamb serves six including leftovers. Timing above doesn’t include the hour the leg of lamb needed to come to room temperature before roasting, nor the resting time before cutting into it.
- Do not add salt to the rub or the lamb before cooking as it will draw out moisture.
- Put all the dry spices in a mixing bowl to combine.
- Rubbing the yogurt and mustard combination will aid in the spice mixture to stick to the meat.
- Mustard serves as an antioxidant that mellows out the flavor of lamb.