Cumin Roasted Lamb
A little confession. I have always been afraid of making large meat dishes, you know, the traditional American pot roast, meat loaf, roasted turkey, etc. But since we moved to Ireland, where I find the diversity of vegetables is far less than the States, I started to turn my attention to the abundant and high quality Irish meats. Lamb, for example, is far superior and more available in Ireland than the States. I started roasting lamb with cumin after I visited Morocco in the spring.
My friend that I went to Morocco with is a huge fan of meats in general. Well, he was in heaven. We found a couple of street vendors that make succulent roasted lamb in the corner of the busiest square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, in Marakech. The meat was dirt cheap and they sell out very early in the day. The shops have an earth oven built into the ground, out of which they lifted out lamb or pork that have been roasting all morning. Big chunks of meat fell off the bones, served in foil and a generous serving of cumin and salt mixture. No utensils, hands only. I tried eating with a camping spork and resorted to my hands in the end. The meats were tasty but they were gamey. I realized that cumin salt was an excellent spice that helped to cover up the strong meaty taste or anything that might have indicated the meat as being less than fresh.
With lack of patience to roast my lamb for half a day, I opted for a medium rare roast. Here is my simple recipe, great for people who are afraid of making a big meat dish like me.
1. I chose a leg of lamb, but a shoulder of a lamb would work just as well.
2. Make incisions in the lamb, and embed cloves of garlic into the meat.
3. Pat the lamb generously with salt, pepper, and whole cumin seed.
4. Roast the lamb in a pre-heated 200C oven for 10 minutes, then roast for 40-ish minutes at 160C depending on the size of the leg.
5. Take the lamb out of the oven and tent it for 10 minutes with foil. Carve and serve.
I tried serving the lamb with chopped mint and basil in olive oil this evening. My boyfriend loved it. Sometimes I serve the lamb with rice and vegetables, but tonight it was served with potatoes and kale. I do live in Ireland after all.