- 1 shoulder/leg of lamb on the bone, around 2kg
- 4-6 heads of garlic (depending on size), broken into cloves, with the peal on
- 2 t cumin seeds
- 2 t fennel seeds
- 2 t coriander seeds
- 2 t caraway seeds
- 10-12 black peppercorns
- 2 t sweet paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 3/4 t salt
- 2 T olive oil
Preheat the oven to 220C. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin, fennel, coriander and caraway seeds and peppercorns, and toast until fragrant – about a minute. If you don’t have whole seeds, you can use the powdered version, but don’t toast. Transfer to a mortar and use a pestle to pound to a fine powder. Combine with the paprika, cayenne, salt and oil.
Put the lamb in a large, deep roasting tin. Use the tip of a sharp knife to score the meat. If you want, slice a few garlic cloves and shove them into the scores. Rub the spice mixture over the joint and massage it in, including the underside, working it into any crevices.
Roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Baste the lamb with its juices, then pour a glass of water into the tin (not over the meat). Cover with foil, return to the oven and reduce the heat to 120C. After 4.5-5 more hours, take the lamb out and scatter the whole garlic cloves into the lamb juices. Cover the dish again and return to the oven for a final hour, by which time the meat should be extremely tender and the garlic soft and sweet.
Credits: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, slightly modified.
2013-12-25: We made this for Christmas dinner. It was spectacular (if a bit overcooked). The spice rub was excellent and could be used on many other meats.
2014-01-19: I tried it on a cut of frying beef (braten keulen), around 1/2 kg. We cut the spice mixture in half, put it in at 220C for 10 min., then added between 1/4-1/2 C water, cooked for another 10, basted, reduced to 120C and cooked for 15-20 min., until it was medium rare. It was gorgeous:
2014-01-26: This weekend, we tried it with pork. We got a schweine-filet of 600g, and again cut the spice mixture in half (and skipped the garlic step). It’s not as good with pork as it is with lamb and beef, but still good. Roasted at 200C for 10 min., added about 1/4 C water, roasted for another 10 min. at 200C, and then reduced heat to 180C, checking every 10 min. until done.
2014-12-26: Made with 1.5lbs of eye of round beef. Did not halve the spice mixture. Cooked at 220C/430F for 15 min., then added 2/3 C water and the garlic, and cooked for 10 more min. Basted, reduced heat to 120C and cooked a further 15 min, covered, when it was medium rare.