Lamb is synonymous with Easter. It’s also the perfect time to invite friends and family to gather around the table. What better than celebrating with a roast? Marinated overnight in garlic and earthy spices, this slow-roast lamb shawarma is worth getting excited about. The meat is meltingly tender with a jammy onion gravy playing to the sweet fattiness of the lamb.This year, rather than a roast leg of lamb, I’ve decided on shanks but, the recipe is adaptable for either cut of meat. Lamb is especially good paired with the warming spices redolent of the Middle East.
Lamb shawarma’s iconic status reaches well beyond the borders of the Middle East. Come to think of it, what better way to eat a roast than in a casual pita-pocket. I’ve deviated slightly from tradition by including a splash of red wine and a little stock for the gravy. The result is a chestnut-coloured pan sauce that’ll have everyone breaking bread to mop up the sticky sauce.
As Ottolenghi, the Middle Eastern guru explains in his book, Jerusalem – The best way to eat a shawarma is stuffed into warm pita pockets with chopped onion, parsley and a sprinkling of sumac. Finish with the quintessential tomato and cucumber salad. If your Easter celebration leads you in this direction, I’d include hummus and perhaps a tabbouleh salad too.
The FeedFeed, features this recipe and a host of other delicious ways with lamb. You can hop over there by clicking on the link. And for dessert? Chocolate, of course. My Nutella chocolate mousse cake is a huge favourite. Happy Easter ♥
Slow-roast lamb shawarma
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried, red chilli flakes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3/4 cup weak meat stock
- 6 free-range lamb shanks, excess fat trimmed
- 2-3 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
- a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, to finish
- For the marinade, place the garlic, olive oil and all the aromatics into a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Pour the marinade over the meat and rub in. Massaging the marinade in by hand is the best way to do this.
- Place the shanks in a non-metallic dish, cover and allow to marinate overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Bring the lamb up to room temperature.
- Transfer the lamb to a roasting tin. Season with salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours.
- Turn the shanks over. Add the onions to the roasting tin and pour in the red wine and stock.
- Cover with the foil and roast for a further 90 minutes. If the liquid reduces too rapidly, just add a little extra water.
- Remove the foil and baste the meat with the pan juices.
- Turn the oven temperature up to 200ºC and roast for a further 20-30 minutes.
- Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, cover with foil and allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving.