Lamb is one of my favourite meats, it has so much flavour and can make for a really decadent meal. I made this lamb roast on a cold and wet Sunday evening and it was perfect. But you could also make this on a nice sunny day, and just pair it with a light cous-cous salad rather than winter vegetables.
It requires a lot of different spices, but don’t get overwhelmed because they all blend wonderfully into the meat. And the dates add a really pleasant sweetness to the gravy that goes perfectly over your roast vegetables!
So here’s what you need:
– Boneless shoulder of lamb, about 1-1.5 kg
– 2 tbsp. olive oil
– 1 heaped teaspoon harissa
– 1 tbsp. honey
– 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
– 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
– 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
– 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves
– 250 ml lamb stock
– 1 medium sized butternut squash
– 75 gr chopped dates
– Salt & pepper to taste
Before you can even think about cooking, you need to marinade your lamb to make sure all the flavours infuse into the meat, to create a really special taste.
Start by scoring the skin of the lamb in a crisscross pattern.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, harissa and honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in all the spices and the chopped rosemary leaves and rub this mixture into the meat. Leave the meat to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Fast forward 2 hours and you’re ready to cook! I have my own way of cooking roast meat to ensure that it’s as juicy and tender as possible, as I’ve often found that a large chunk of roast meat can end up a bit tough and chewy. So what I do first is I completely wrap the meat in 2 layers of thick kitchen foil. I wrap it loosely to ensure the meat has room to breathe, but make sure there is no space for air to escape the wrapped meat. The reason I do this is simple: I like tender meat! And cooking it this way ensures that the meat steams inside the wrapping and that it’s moist and tender, instead of dry and chewy. It turns out to be as tender as when cooked in a slow cooker, without the need to wait 10 hours for the meat to be ready, but by eventually removing the kitchen foil, you still get a nice crispy outer layer. Put the wrapped meat in the oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.
After cooking for 40 minutes, remove the foil. You’ll see that the meat has cooked nicely, and there’s a lovely aroma coming out of the wrap from all those lovely spices. Place the meat and all its juices in the baking tray, add the chopped butternut squash, the lamb stock, and sprinkle the chopped dates around the broth. The dates will eventually dissolve into the gravy, leaving behind a sweet tangy flavour. Place the meat back in the oven for another 40 minutes, making sure the meat is cooked through and the squash is tender.
After 40 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to rest 10 minutes before serving.
You’re now ready to serve this stunning Moroccan lamb. As it was a wet and wintery day, I served this meat with roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms, a side salad, Yorkshire puddings and baked feta.
However, you could easily cook this meat on a warm summery day and serve with a refreshing cous-cous salad and a yoghurt dip.