It’s my birthday and I get to make what I like. This means barbecued lamb. This year I decided I would go Moroccan.
Unfortunately Sunday turned into another “Spare the Air” day. I had to make other plans. Curses broiled again! I never quite get the results I want when I use the broiler. It should be simpler than using a charcoal grill, but it is not.
The “Moroccan” barbecued recipes on-line—all of which tended to have very short spice lists—were not quite what I had in mind. Ras el Hanout (top of the shop) is a complex blend of spices that can be used in a variety of dishes to make them “Moroccan.”. Each spice shop makes their own unique blend of this mix. Today, I am using some that Jan bought me from Whole Spice.
When you buy a leg of lamb from a butcher you have three choices. You can ask for a shank half—the lower half—the top half, or the whole leg of lamb. Which you choose depend on your planned number of diners. A bottom half will feed 5-6, the top half feeds 7-10, and a whole leg will feed a crowd.
Tip: When making your choice do not for get to allow for leftovers—mmmm, lamb sandwiches!
To go with my lamb, my Moroccan feast will have: Harissa—a North African condiment—a vegetable tajine, lemon couscous, and an orange and spinach salad. It being my birthday, Jan of course made my mother’s chocolate mousse.
Note: Followers might note that I am posting this almost two weeks after I posted the rest of this meal. My house has lately been a pest house. First Eilene, then I and finally Jan, all got the flu that has been going around the Bay Area. There seems to have actually been two flus, one stomach and the other sinus, and I think I caught both kinds.
Karl’s Moroccan Ras el Hanout Barbecued/Broiled Lamb
Half a leg of lamb
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
2 Tbs. Ras el Hanout
1. Bone and butterfly the half of a leg of lamb. Trim off any excess fat.
2. Mix the oil, garlic and spice mix into a paste.
Note: Double the marinating ingredients to make a whole leg of lamb.
3. Spread the marinade over the meat and place it in a plastic bag. refrigerate at least four hours—preferably overnight.
4. An hour before you plan to cook the meat, set it on the counter to come to room temperature.
Tip: Lamb at room temperature cooks more evenly than cold meat right out of the refrigerator.
5. Lay the lamb in a broiling pan, with a wire rack, and broil for 8-10 minutes per side, until well browned and crusted and a constant read thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the meat, reads 150º F
6. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and tent with foil. Let the meat rest for ten minutes.
7. Slice the lamb across the grain and serve with harissa on the side.