This Moroccan recipe looks fantastic when served on a large platter over a bed of fresh parsley (leaves and stalks). You can sear the lamb, grill the capsicum and make the sauce (without the herbs) all in advance, then finish the lamb and add the herbs to the sauce at the very last minute.
- 1 leg of lamb, deboned and trimmed (1.5 kg net)
- 3 red capsicum (peppers), cut into quarters and seeds removed
(370 g net)
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 lemons, rind grated, plus 90 ml lemon juice
- 2¼ tbsp thyme leaves, picked
- 90 ml olive oil
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 100 ml olive oil
- 175 g whole almonds
- 1 lemon, rind grated, plus 60 ml
(¼ cup) lemon juice
- 3 tsp honey
- ½ tsp orange blossom water
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 15 g mint, finely chopped
- 15 g coriander leaves, finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 2 hours or overnight
Resting time 5–10 minutes
To make the marinade, combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.
Slice the lamb into four or five even pieces and add to the marinade. Use your hands to massage marinade into meat. Place in refrigerator and marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Heat a large chargrill (ridged griddle) pan on high heat. Drizzle the capsicum with the 1½ tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Cook, turning once, for about 7 minutes, or until charred on all sides. Set aside to cool, then cut into 2 cm-wide strips.
Cook the lamb on the hot pan for 2–3 minutes each side, or until charred all over and starting to caramelise. Transfer to a roasting pan and place in hot oven for 4 minutes for medium–rare, or longer according to taste. (Check lamb by pressing against the meat – the less the "give", the more it is cooked. If you aren’t sure, make a small incision to check for colour.) Remove lamb from oven, cover tray with foil and rest for 5–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat 45 ml of the olive oil in a small pan and add the almonds. Cook, stirring continuously, for 3–4 minutes, or until almonds are golden brown and evenly cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Place almonds in a food processor and roughly crush. Mix in the lemon rind and juice, honey, orange blossom water, salt, pepper and remaining olive oil. Mix well and set aside.
When ready to serve, carve the lamb into 1 cm-thick slices and arrange on a platter with the capsicum. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the sauce and spoon on top. Serve any remaining sauce on the side.