Roast Lamb with Harissa

Preparation time: 40 min, Cooking time: 1 hr 40 min, Cals per serving: 786


serves: 4
2 large red peppers, about 400 g (14 oz) total weight
4 large red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil

for the lamb

1.8 kg (4 lb) boned leg of lamb, plus bones
2 tbsp oil
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme
350 g (12 oz) shallots, peeled, root left intact, blanched
1 garlic bulb, broken up into cloves, skin left on
300 ml (10 fl oz) dry white wine
fresh lamb or chicken stock
600 ml (1 pt) roasted chillies, garlic and fresh thyme sprigs to garnish


1. To make the harissa, grill the peppers until the skins are completely blackened and the flesh is soft, then cover and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, core and deseed the peppers.

2. Place the chillies in the food processor with the garlic, coriander and caraway seeds and whiz to form a rough paste. Add the peppers, salt and olive oil and whiz again for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. (Spoon any remaining harissa into a screw-top jar, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and store in a cool place for up to two weeks.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan oven/Gas Mark 6. To prepare the lamb, spread the bone cavity with about 3 tablespoons of the harissa. Roll up and secure with cocktail sticks or sew up using a large needle and thread.

4. Heat the oil in a roasting pan over a moderate heat and brown the lamb on all sides.This should take about 5 minutes. Season, then place the rosemary and thyme under the lamb and add the bones to the roasting tin. Roast for 1 hour for pink lamb or 1 1/2 hours for well done. Baste the lamb from time to time and add the shallots and garlic to the roasting pan 45 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

5. Transfer the lamb to a carving dish with the shallots and garlic. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for about 10 minutes in a low oven.

6. Skim any fat off the sediment in the roasting pan. Add the wine to the pan, bring to the boil and bubble until reduced by half. Add the stock, return to the boil and bubble until reduced by half again. Adjust the seasoning and strain. Remove the cocktail sticks or thread from the lamb and garnish with roasted chillies and garlic and the thyme. Serve with the shallots, garlic and gravy.

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