Storified by Arya McLean· Fri, Apr 05 2013 18:22:01
Lamb with the bone in is marinated in a combination of spices including butter, garlic, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper and salt and roasted until moist and tender in this gourmet cooking recipe adapted from Around the World in 450 Recipes by Sarah Ainley. Serve Moroccan-style roasted leg of lamb with boiled or buttered potatoes as well as green beans and broccoli for a complete Sunday feast.
Spices are extensively used in Moroccan cuisine, particularly turmeric, paprika, cumin, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, coriander, cloves, and pepper. These spices are often combined and used as a spice rub for chicken, beef and lamb. Other herbs like mint, cilantro, basil and parsley are also used to add flavor, and tempered with lemon juice and zest. In this simple recipe for lamb, only a few spices are used to allow the natural flavor of the lamb meat to stand out. The result is a subtly spicy dish with an irresistible aroma. This marinade can also be used for chicken, beef or seafood.
The lamb must be marinated for at least two or three hours, and even better if you can marinade it overnight. This will allow the meat to absorb the aromatic flavors. Ideally, the leg of lamb should be about three and a half pounds as suggested in this recipe, but you can also use a smaller lamb. Take note that the cooking time of the lamb will vary depending on its size. The cooking time will also depend on your preferred doneness, whether you want it well-done, medium, or pink meat.
Traditionally, a whole lamb is roasted on a spit over a fire or in the ground. Also called “mechoui,” the lamb is slowly roasted until tender enough for the bone to be pulled out of the meat. Slow roasting the lamb in a very low temperature takes up to nine hours depending on how thick the meat is. This modern method shortens the cooking time of the roast lamb.