A leg of lamb, bone-in, semi-boneless, fully boneless, rolled, any which way is just a marvelous centerpiece to a meal. And while lamb has a distinct flavor (the boys in my family are lamb devotees – see the list of other legs of lamb below) it also takes to all kinds of seasonings, so you can play around with your spice drawer like crazy. Today, it’s Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb.
The seasoning blend looks a bit lengthy but it takes 5 minutes to pull together. And if you don’t happen to have one of the spices, just leave it out – there is plenty of flavor going on. You make combine cumin, paprika, coriander, allspice, ginger, cayenne and salt and pepper, and then blend that up with some fresh honey, lemon juice, parsley and olive oil, and rub it all over the roast, working it into slits cut into the lamb so the rub can really penetrate the interior of the meat.
Then your work is pretty much done — an overnight rest in the fridge, a few hours in the oven, and you have a centerpiece meal to be proud of.
If you don’t think all of the meat will be eaten, it’s nice and a little dramatic to leave a portion of the leg of lamb uncut for serving, and keep it on the platter with the sliced meat. And of course, you can always slice more!
Harissa Sauce for Lamb
Do not skip the creamy harissa sauce — it takes all of 30 seconds to stir together and it’s a fantastic little finish to the dish. The little bit of lime juice at the end adds a burst of tart freshness which plays so nicely against the richness of the meat and the robust seasonings.
And note to self — this should marinate overnight for optimal flavor, so plan accordingly. You will be rewarded with a deeply flavorful slow cooked leg of lamb.
Internal Temperature for Leg of Lamb
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to see if it’s done: for rare you want to take it out at 120° to 125°F, for medium rare you want about 135°F, and medium is 140 to 145°F. Boo to overcooked leg of lamb.
The temperature of the lamb will climb for a few minutes once the meat is taken out of the oven. And it’s just an undeniable, critical fact that roasts need to rest before cutting, so all of those beautiful juices do not end up on the cutting board instead or in the meat where they belong. Let the meat sit for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.
This beautiful lamb roast is infused with fabulous spices, but don’t skip the harissa sauce.Tweet This
What to Serve with Moroccan Leg of Lamb
Here it’s served up with an arugula salad, some simple roasted butternut squash, and couscous.
I might also serve this with Endive Salad with Pear and Creamy Herb Dressing and Lebanese Couscous with Sautéed Kale and Lemon Dressing or Saffron Couscous.
If you wanted to go all-in Moroccan-wise you could start the meal with Moroccan Carrot and Cauliflower Soup.
Other Leg of Lamb Recipes:
So…I may or may not have made one or two legs of lamb before. You may also like:
- Slow Cooked Herbed Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Arugula Salad – A tangle of fresh greens play so beautifully against rich lamb.
- Herbed Boneless Leg of Lamb with Mustard Crust – This is another showstopper, with a delicious crust you will be scrambling to scoop onto your plate.
- Slow Cooked Mediterranean Leg of Lamb with Tzatziki – The perfect spring show-off main dish.
- Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb
Ok, that’s enough for now.
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Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb
For the Lamb
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 shallots
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 6-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb trimmed of excess fat
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- ½ cup crème fraiche
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- Sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves
- Hot couscous cooked according to package directions, to serve
- In a food processor or blender combine garlic, shallots, parsley, cumin, paprika, coriander, allspice, salt, pepper, ginger, cayenne, olive oil, lemon juice and honey. Pulse to combine, then puree until it forms a paste. Use a sharp knife to cut about 15 deep slits into the lamb on all sides, then rub the mixture all over the lamb, working in into the slits. Place the lamb into a roasting pan, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Let the lamb sit out at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Place the lamb in a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the lamb in the oven for about 2½ to 2¾ hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F on an internal thermometer. Turn the heat up to 500°F. and let the meat cook for another 15 to 20 minutes (the temperature in the oven will climb, but may not quite reach 500°F within 15 minutes, which is fine). Check the internal temperature: for rare you want to take it out at 125°F, for medium rare you want about 135°F, and medium is 140 to 145°F. The temperature of the lamb will climb for a few minutes once the meat is taken out of the oven. Remove it from the oven, transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent it with foil, and let the meat sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- While the meat is resting, in a small bowl combine the harissa with the crème fraiche and lime, and season with salt. Thinly slice the meat across the grain and pile it onto a platter. Serve with the cilantro sprigs and the creamy harissa sauce, with couscous on the side.
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