Slow Roasted Lamb

 Slow Roasted Moroccan Style Lamb

Slow-Roasted Moroccan-style Lamb

There are a few variations I use for slow roasting lamb, all equally delicious.  The great benefit of slow-roasting is that you can set it up and leave it and come back to a wonderfully silky result.  There is some preparation required, but it is easy and rather meditative. There is no time limit on low-temperature, slow-roasting so if you have a long, lazy family gathering or you are busy in the garden for the day this is a terrific way to fill the house with the wonderful sticky sweet smell of slow-cooked meat and have a great meal at the end of it.

Slow-Roasted Moroccan-style Lamb  – this requires overnight marinating (this one is the marathon, but worth it).  The overnight marinating lets the meat absorb the flavour, pre-tenderises the meat and creates a roasting liquid that bastes the meat while it cooks.

Whole shoulder of lamb, boned or a leg of lamb on the bone – Whole Shoulder is actually best for this method as per the image below.

Slow Roasted Moroccan Style Lamb1 whole head of garlic, leave half the cloves whole
300mls Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons of honey or brown sugar
Generous pinch of saffron threads, soaked in warm water
1 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Preserved lemons - just a few skins very finely sliced, no pulp
Small of chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon each smoked paprika, mustard seeds, caraway seeds, juniper berries crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon of honey or brown sugar (extra for final roast)
1 teaspoon each of thyme, ground pepper, ground cardamom
½ cup olive oil
½ tablespoon of salt
Grated nutmeg

Optional addition is currants or raisins - they give a great flavour to the meat as it is marinating and add even more flavour as the juicy little fruits pop as the meat cooks.  If you are not a fan of dried fruit with meat, give it a go, it is not just a Medieval throw-back, it really does add a big hit of flavour.

Add the honey, yoghurt, herbs and spices to a large baking tray and combine well.  Add the vinegar, stirring well.  Crush half the garlic into the olive oil and mix through the yoghurt mix.  Add the salt, saffron and lemons and mix well. 

Once the mix is the consistency of runny custard add the lamb and massage the ointment into the meat very very well.  Alternatively add the whole mix and the lamb to a very large freezer bag and massage.  Leave in the fridge overnight.

Once the meat is ready to roast, transfer to a very heavy baking tray and squeeze all the marinade out over the meat.   As the meat/yogurt cooks it creates a sort of cheese in the pan which is delicious – however if you are not keen on this, scrape away the excess yoghurt and add a cup of stock to the pan.  

Add the reserved whole cloves of garlic to the tray and cover with first baking paper, then two layers of foil.  Place meat into a cold oven and set temperature to 125°C.  Cook undisturbed for at least 4 ½ hours, or until meat is very tender – just check the meat not the time and it will be fine. 

Once meat is soft and gelatinous crank the oven up to 220°C and (if you fancy roast potatoes this is the time to add them - sliced longways to absorb the last of the liquid.    

Slow Roasted Moroccan Style Lamb 

Roast for another 30-40 minutes or until golden and crispy on top.  Allow the meat to rest before serving, squeeze over a little extra lemon juice just before serving.

Slow roasted lamb melts off the bone and goes really well with Moroccan-style spices, like in this marinade.  Serve with polenta, cous-cous or rice pilaf with plenty of smokey sweet flavours like raisins, currants or  pinenuts. This is fantastic with  baken fennel too!.