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Persian spice mixes range from simple combinations of one or two flavours to complex creations that include esoteric spices such as angelica, dried rose petals & lime powder. This is an easy Persian-inspired spice blend that’s turned into a paste with the addition of garlic & oil & features a touch of chilli heat. The pumpkin & sultanas really bring out the underlying sweetness of the meat.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
To make the spice paste, combine the garlic, shallot, chilli & salt in a mortar & pound to a paste.
Add the remaining spices & pound again to incorporate thoroughly. Stir in the oil.
Use your fingers to rub the paste all over the lamb, working it in thoroughly.
Pour half the oil into a heavy-based roasting pan, then add the lamb & cook in the centre of the oven for 20 mins.
Turn the oven down to 180C & cook for a further 20 mins. Remove the pan from the oven & add the remaining oil.
Scatter in the pumpkin, onion & sultanans, tossing them around in the spicy oil to coat.
Return the pan to the oven & cook for a further 20 mins.
Check from time to time & turn the vegetables to ensure they cook evenly.
Check for doneness – at this stage, the lamb should be cooked medium-rare.
Return to the oven for a little longer, if you prefer it less pink. Allow the meat to rest for at least 15 mins before carving – the vegetables can be kept warm in the oven if they are done.
Serve with the pan juices & vegetables, your choice of rice & lots of yoghurt
Prep time 20 mins
Cooking time 1hr
1 x 2.5kg leg of lamb
80ml olive oil
600g peeled pumpkin, cut into chunks
2 red onions, cut into quarters
¼ cup (50g) sultanas
splash of verjuice (Nigel says you can substitute lemon juice, white wine vinegar or a touch of dry sherry)
rice & yoghurt, to serve
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
50ml olive oil