Mechoui (Moroccan Slow Roasted Lamb) is traditionally prepared by roasting a whole lamb either on a spit over a fire or in a pit in the ground. In some places in Morocco, they roast up to 8 sheep in each pit. The meat is eaten by hand with salt and cumin for dipping. In this recipe the leg or shoulder is very slowly roasted in the oven until the meat is tender enough to pull off the bone.
1 whole leg (or shoulder) of lamb on the bone
4T soft butter (or ghee)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2t salt, or to taste
1t pepper, or to taste
1/2t saffron threads, crushed
1T olive oil
- Trim excess fat from the leg of lamb, and make a dozen or more cuts deep into the meat with the tip of a sharp knife.
- Combine the butter with the garlic, spices and olive oil. Rub the mixture over the entire leg of lamb, working some butter into the incisions made with the knife.
- Preheat an oven to 120°C.
- Place the lamb in a roasting pan and cover with foil, sealing the edges tightly.
- Roast the lamb, basting hourly and resealing the foil each time, for 7 to 8 hours, or until the juices run clear and the meat is tender enough to pull off the bone. (Small legs – under 2 kg may finish cooking in 6 hours; large legs may take closer to 9 hours.)
- Remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 240°C. Brown the lamb, basting frequently, for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the meat is well-coloured on the outside.
- Transfer the lamb to a platter and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, the juices can be poured over and around the lamb. Serve dishes of salt and cumin on the side for dipping.
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