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Friday, June 19, 2009

Roast Leg of Lamb with Tahini Sauce

When I was little, I really didn't like lamb, and consequently I avoided it completely for years. But then about 5 years ago my Mother-in-Law made a Rack of Lamb with a rosemary biscuit-like crust on it, and I loved it! I'll have to make and post that recipe sometime. Since then, I can't get enough, lamb has become one of my "go-to" favorites, especially when we are out in restaurants.

We are planning a trip to New Zealand for this upcoming December, and the part of our trip I am most looking forward too (aside from getting to visit with my Sister-in-Law and her Husband, of course)... is getting to eat lamb, lots and lots of lamb....

This meal, here, combines some of my favorite things - lamb, and Middle Eastern flavours. The next night for dinner, I made pita sandwiches with the left over lamb and tahini sauce with tomato, lettuce and onion. They were fabulous! It was actually pretty funny, I wrapped the sandwiches up using squares of waxed paper. My kids did not eat the lamb the first night, when it was served as in the picture, above (with roasted golden beets, steamed snow peas and Israeli couscous). However, when I made it into the wraps, they gobbled them up.

At one point while we were eating the sandwiches, I said to my husband, Mario, "This is the closest I've ever come to a good homemade shawarma sauce". Claire (looking a little stricken) says, "What do you mean, HOMEMADE, didn't these come from a restaurant?? How come they are wrapped in this paper???" I explained that I just did that myself to help make them easier to eat. Well, their enthusiasm for the meal vanished immediately and we had a job getting them to finish. How could they love something one minute (when they thought it came from a restaurant), and then hate it the moment they realized I made it! I was mortally offended (as I am most nights when they turn their noses up at my cooking!!).

Roast Leg of Lamb with Tahini Sauce
from Eating Well Website

8 medium cloves garlic, divided
2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground mace
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 4lb boneless leg of lamb, butterflied and trimmed
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Mince 6 garlic cloves. Place in a small bowl with 1 1/2 tsp salt and mash into a paste using the back of a spoon. Stir in the oil, mace, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne until combined.

2. Lay lamb out flat, with the cut side up. Spread three-quarters of the spice paste over the cut surface. Roll the lamb closed and tie in several places so it is about the shape of a large football. Spread the remaining paste over the outside. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Combine with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl with lemon juice, tahini, parsley, yogurt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. About 20 minutes before you are ready to grill, preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400°F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400°F).

5. Roast Lamb in BBQ over indirect charcoal until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. (You can use a gas BBQ, by turning off the burners on the side where the lamb is, or roast in the over at 400F). Total cooking time will vary, but will be approximately 1 hour.

6. Transfer lamb to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the tahini sauce.