- 1 x 2.5kg bone-in leg of lamb
- For the shawarma spice mix:
- 1.5 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 5 cloves
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (such as Maldon)
- For the marinade and cooking the lamb
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, in thick strips (remove any white pith from the underside of the strips)
- 2 onions, sliced
- 100ml flavourless oil, such groundnut
For the Israeli salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 3 small Israeli cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber (seeds removed if the latter), diced
- 3 tomatoes, diced, or 15 cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1 handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 small handful mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. If made more than 15 minutes in advance the salad will accumulate juice at the bottom of the bowl – it is up to you whether you drain this off.
For the onion salad:
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 2 regular onions, thinly sliced
- 1 heaped teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a bowl, mix the onions and salt, rubbing the salt into the slices with your hands. Add the sumac. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
For the tahini sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 100ml tahini
- 50ml lemon juice
- 100ml water
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- Salt (a pinch)
Put all the ingredients except the salt in a food processor and process until smooth Taste and add salt if needed.
Using a dry, heavy-based frying pan, toast the cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods over a low heat. Move them around the pan on a medium heat for a few minutes, until they become very fragrant. Remove from the heat and grind to a powder in a spice grinder, then mix in the paprika and salt.
Combine the spice mix with the oil and garlic. Score the leg of lamb a few times on top to allow the marinade to penetrate, then smear the marinade all over the lamb, making sure to push it right into the slashes you’ve made, covering every nook and cranny.
Leave to marinate for at least four hours, or overnight.
Bring the meat out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook it, then preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6/180 fan assisted.
Place the lamb in a roasting dish and cook for 1 hour, uncovered, until the lamb has browned.
After this time, reduce the heat to 160C/Gas Mark 3. Add the onions and lemon zest strips and water to a depth of 1cm in the base of the pan. Cover with foil and cook for 4.5 -5 hours, until the lamb is very tender.
Baste the lamb with the water in the pan every hour, topping up as necessary to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Don’t skip the basting as it will keep the lamb tender.
Allow the lamb to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Serve the lamb with the salads and sauce, plus pitta or flatbreads, pickled chillies and/or pickled turnips and yoghurt.