This dish is warming, aromatic and takes zilch time to prepare.
1 butterflied lamb leg, approx. 800g (about 1 lb 7oz)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp flaky sea salt (or less of regular salt)
Generous grind of black pepper
With winter on our New Zealand doorstep the days are getting shorter so when my partner and I arrive home from work sometime around 7pm, it’s already dark, cold, and pretty much bang on when we want to sink our teeth into something tasty and warming for dinner. We have recently resorted to quick stir-fries and pasta dishes as our staple midweek meals: Fast. Easy. More time to watch Our Planet on Netflix after…
INSERT EASTER Ta-dah!
Some of you may also have family traditions around this time. For the Biuso’s, it’s pretty much a time of feasting. Special feasting. This dish isn’t your everyday meal – the cut of meat is more expensive than what we would have during the week, so we make an occasion of it. Served with a few other bits and bobs we make it go further to share with friends. A huge mound of potatoes, or maybe an orzo salad, or roasted cauliflower and onions with dukkah, all work well, and you can never go wrong with a fresh green salad to balance the richness. If, like us, you’ve got silverbeet in your garden, steam that up and sizzle in a pan with fresh garlic and chilli. This dish is warming, aromatic and takes zilch time to prepare. That leaves more time to have fun. Happy Easter, Ilaria
1 Bring lamb leg to room temperature and preheat oven to 210°C (410°F).
2 Mix cumin, cinnamon, paprika, nigella seeds, salt and pepper together. Massage the spice mix into the lamb, cover, and leave at room temperature for half an hour. After it has rested, massage in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
3 Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a shallow ovenproof dish over a high heat until it starts to shimmer. (Choose a dish that can go over the element later.) Add the lamb, fat side down, and brown for a couple of minutes. Turn the lamb over so it is fat-side up, and pop it in the oven and roast for 12 minutes; don’t overcook it (the meat should still feel a bit springy when you touch it).
4 Remove lamb from oven, transfer to a board and sprinkle on all sides with salt. Let the lamb rest for 15 minutes before slicing, so it absorbs its juices. Slice into thinnish pieces and feel free to pick at any crusty bits that fall away from the knife – they’re the chef’s perks. Transfer lamb to a heated serving platter.
5 You can make a quick jus from the juices in the roasting dish. Scoop off any fat and add any juices from the board, and add either a splash of water or white wine. Bubble up and spoon over lamb. Serve immediately.
This recipe is not for a whole boned leg, just part of it. It’s prime meat and should be cooked medium to medium-rare, so watch the cooking time. The meat should feel springy but not bouncy when you remove it from the oven (check here for a guide to cooking meat Touch Test)
Nigella seeds are widely available. They taste slightly bitter, and a bit peppery, with a hint of cumin and charred onion. They are usually toasted in a dry frying pan before sprinkling over food, but don’t require dry-toasting in this rub.