This wintery roasted lamb dish will fill the house with a wonderful fragrance as it cooks. The cooked lamb is beautifully tender and irresistible served with the sweet and spicy pan juices and quince.
- 5 lemons, halved and squeezed
- 5 heads garlic, with skin left on halved
- 4 quinces, skinned and cooked to a puree (see Note)
- 4 cinnamon quills
- 8 whole cloves
- 200 g honey
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 quinces, peeled and halved
- 1 large whole leg or whole shoulder of lamb (see Note)
- 1 splash olive oil
- white wine, as needed
- water, as needed
- cous cous, roasted walnuts, tahini, yoghurt and harissa, to serve
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: overnight or up to 2 days is best
Resting time: 1 hour
Place the marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the lamb in a non-reactive dish, pour the marinade over and refrigerate overnight, or longer if possible (two days is better).
Preheat oven to 160ÂºC. In a large roasting tray, place the halved quinces on the base then lay the lamb as flat as possible on top. Pour over the marinade, add a splash of olive oil and enough white wine to cover the base of the tray by about 1 cm. This method of â€˜wet roastingâ€™ allows the liquid to gently steam the meat. The liquid also stops the sugars in the marinade from burning.
Cover tray with foil as tightly as you can. Place in the oven.
After one hour, check the progress of the lamb. If there is still sufficient liquid in the tray, replace the foil and continue cooking. If not, add a little water.
After three more hours, remove the lamb from the oven. It should be a darkened caramel in colour.
Rest for at least one hour as this will ensure the lamb stays moist.
When itâ€™s cool enough to handle, gently run your fingers along the muscle to separate it from the bone. It should slide off easily. If the bone emerges clean then you know that it is cooked perfectly. Gently reheat the lamb with a little more wine and cover with foil again.
Transfer lamb to a platter, pour any excess liquid over the meat and garnish with the roasted quinces. Serve with cous cous tossed with roasted walnuts, tahini, yoghurt and harissa.
Steve uses the locally-farmed Perendale lamb which has a high fat content.
Steve likes Smyrna quinces but any variety will substitute.