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Butterflied Spiced Lamb Leg With Persian Jewelled Rice

And Grilled Squash With Yogurt, Mint And Aleppo Pepper

Posted on by Genevieve Taylor
Butterflied Spiced Lamb Leg With Persian Jewelled Rice
Serves 2

Butterflied Spiced Lamb Leg With Persian Jewelled Rice

Serves: 2   


for the spiced lamb:
  • leg of lamb (1.5 kg)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • a small bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt flakes

for the Persian jewelled rice:
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 150g dried cranberries
  • a generous pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamon pods, bruised
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 100g walnut pieces, toasted
  • a generous bunch parsley, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • seeds from pomegranate
  • finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the grilled squash with yogurt,
pomegranate molasses, mint
and Aleppo pepper:
  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half then sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • a small bunch mint, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes


Step 1
Begin by butterflying the lamb leg. Lay it fleshy side down on a chopping board and starting at the thick end of the leg, use a really sharp knife to cut through the meat down to the bone. Continue to make small slicing incisions through the meat, following the line of the bone as closely as possible to ease it away. Discard the bone. Where the meat is thickest, make a few deep slashes to open the leg out further and make it more even. Set aside while you make the marinade
Step 2
Set a frying pan over a medium heat and add the cumin and coriander, toasting for a minute or so until deliciously fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar and roughly grind. Add the sumac and smoked paprika and grind together. Stir through the garlic, olive oil and sherry vinegar, and then rub all over the lamb, working it into all of the meat. Cover and leave to marinate for a couple of hours at room temperature, or ideally overnight in the fridge for maximum flavour.
Step 3
Once the meat is ready, add the rice to a sieve and rinse well under running water, then tip into a bowl and cover with cold water.
Step 4
Fire up the barbecue; one end high for the lamb, the middle burner to medium for the squash, and the other end to a low flame for the rice.
Step 5
Once the rice, saffron and cranberries have soaked for 30 minutes, add the oil and half of the butter to a large deep frying pan and place on the cooking grates over the low flame. When the butter has melted, add the onion, cinnamon, cumin, cardamon and chilli flakes and fry gently for 30 minutes until the onion is soft and lightly caramelised, stirring from time to time.
Step 6
When the onions are nearly done, start to grill the lamb. Lay the lamb leg over the high heat for 8 minutes on each side to caramelise, and then reduce heat to a minimum and cook for a further 15 minutes until the internal temp is 60-65°C for medium-rare, 65-70°C for medium. Turn off the burner under the lamb and transfer to rest for a good 10-15 minutes on the warming rack.
Step 7
Drain the rice and cranberries, and stir through the caramelised onions. Add the saffron and its infused water. Cover with boiling water to come level with the top of the rice. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stirring well, then dot the surface of the rice with the remaining butter. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or layer of foil and leave over a low heat. Cook for about 30 minutes, after which time the rice will be fluffy and a delicious buttery crust will have developed on the bottom.
Step 8
Once the rice has been covered, cook the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Lie on the grates over a medium flame and cook for about 20 minutes, turning regularly until lightly charred and soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Step 9
Make the topping for the rice by stirring the walnuts, parsley, garlic, pomegranate and orange zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Once the rice is ready, stir through half the walnut, pomegranate and parsley mixture, scraping the lovely buttery crust off the bottom of the pan and stirring that through as well. Pile the rice onto a warmed serving dish and scatter over the remaining walnut mixture.
Step 10
To serve, cut the lamb into thick slices and pile onto a serving plate. Sprinkle over the mint and a little sea salt. Pile the roasted squash onto another plate and add little dollops of yogurt. Drizzle over the pomegranate molasses and sprinkle on the mint and Aleppo pepper. Tuck in!


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