Roast Lebanese Leg of Lamb with Spiced Lentil Purée

  • Yield: 4-6 servings


1tablespoon ground cumin
2teaspoons ground coriander
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of grated nutmeg
4tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 lamb leg, about 3 1/2 pounds, butterflied
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt
For the lentil purée:
1cup green lentils, washed and drained
2tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground coriander
Juice of 1 lemon
1 handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and oil in a large mixing bowl, then add a good pinch of salt and mix well. Add the lamb to the bowl and rub in the paste until the lamb is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at least 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator if time allows.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, leaving a broiler tray in the oven to heat up. Carefully place the seasoned lamb onto the hot broiler tray, skin side up, and roast 30 to 35 minutes until the lamb is beautifully colored and crisp on the outside and juicy and pink in the middle. Remove from the oven, squeeze the lemon juice over and season with a good pinch of salt. Cover with foil and leave to rest 10 minutes so the meat becomes even more tender and delicious.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the lentils in a large pan of boiling water 12 to 15 minutes until they are cooked through and soft. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and gently fry, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes until golden. Throw in the cumin and coriander and cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently, or until fragrant. Add the cooked lentils, lemon juice, and 1 cup freshly boiled water and season with a really good pinch of salt and pepper. Use a hand blender to puree the lentils until they are lovely and smooth, adding a little more water if the mixture gets too thick. Scatter in the parsley and gently mix to combine.
  5. Finely slice the lamb and divide between the serving plates. Spoon any juices from the broiler tray over, add a good dollop of the lentil puree to the top of the lamb and a drizzle of oil, then serve immediately.

–Recipe from Mighty Spice Cookbook by John Gregory Smith, reprinted with permission from Sterling Publishing.