Winter is the perfect time for slow cooking casseroles and joints of meat. This is a spiced leg of lamb which is absolutely delicious! The meat just falls off the bone. You can also use lamb shanks as well as leg of lamb. I have made this with chicken too and cooked it for 2 hours at the same temperature but with a lid on for the whole time.
The benefit of slow-cooking, generally, is that meat becomes incredibly tender, as all of its connective tissues break down and the flavor is more enhanced. You can literally put the meat in the oven and go off and do things at the same time!
Spiced Slow Cooked Lamb with Pomegranate and Garlic Yoghurt
- 1 leg of lamb
- 2 tbsp sumac
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tsp dried cumin
- 2 tsp dried coriander
- 2 star anise
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 6 cardamom pods
- 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lemons
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 100g pomegranate seeds
- 150ml plain yoghurt
- 1 tsp salt
Preparation time 15 minutes plus 3 hours to marinade the lamb.
Cooking time 3 ½ hours minutes
- Preheat the oven to 160C
- Start by making the marinade. In a small frying pan dry roast the star anise and cardamom pods. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind well, remove the outer pod from the cardamom first.
- In a blender mix together all the dried spices with 3 crushed garlic cloves, 5 tbsp of olive oil, the juice from both lemons, 1 tbsp of mustard, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tbsp of honey and 3 tbsp of chopped coriander.
- Make several slits along the top and bottom of the lamb about 1cm deep and 2cm apart. Put the lamb in a plastic bag (make sure there are no holes). Pour in the marinade and seal the end. Toss the lamb around in the marinade and leave in the fridge for 2 hours. Take it out and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Transfer the lamb to a casserole or deep roasting tin preferably with a thick base. Make sure the fatty part is facing upwards. Pour over any remaining marinade and roast in the oven for 3 ½ hours. After 1 hour add 100ml of water and baste the lamb. Keep basting with the juices every hour, if necessary add a bit more water. Cover the lamb for the last hour.
- Mix the pomegranate seeds with the yoghurt. Add 1 crushed garlic clove and season to taste.
- Remove the lamb from the oven; transfer it to a wooden board and cover with foil. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
- Using a carving knife cut into slices. The lamb should be very tender and just fall away from the bone. You can also shred it using a couple of forks. Pour over any remaining juices from the pan.
You can serve the lamb with couscous or orzo pasta. I like to mix these with finely chopped coriander or parsley with some broccoli florets or French beans. Serve together with the yoghurt and pomegranate sauce on the side.