Lamb with Harissa Fig & Plenty Lentils


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Set a Table

Set a Table

By Karen Dudley

Published 2018

  • About

If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree, this dish would be particularly apt for a late summer dinner. Although figs are sexy, you could use apricots in a similar way or omit the fruity aspect altogether and just use the harissa paste. The Plenty Lentils have their origin in the eponymous book by Yotam Ottolenghi.


  • a deboned, butterflied leg of lamb (about 2.5 kg)
  • 8 figs
  • 6 tsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp Red Harissa paste (see recipe)
  • 4 tsp olive oil


    Prepare the leg of lamb as in the recipe. While the lamb is roasting prepare the lentils. You could also prepare the dressing a good few hours in advance, adding the yoghurt at the very end.

    Place the lentils in a large mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Fry the onion in the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the onions become more translucent, add the minced garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the ground cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for another 2–3 minutes. Add a dribble of water if you think your onions are looking too dry. Toss the spiced onions through the lentils. Stir through the chopped herbs and the shredded baby spinach.

    For the dressing, add the lemon juice and half of the zest to the yoghurt and stir to combine. I like to spoon the yoghurt on top and garnish with the remaining zest. The oily harissa is a great friend to this lemony yoghurt dressing, so when plating, allow some of the spicy red to drizzle over the yoghurt.

    Cut the figs in half. Mix together the honey, sugar, lemon juice and water. Drizzle over the cut figs to marinate. Add vegetable oil to a hot pan and quickly put all the figs, cut side down in the pan so that they caramelise for a few seconds. Turn the heat down to medium and quickly turn the figs over with your tongs so that the other side of the figs become acquainted with some heat too. Remove from the heat and set aside until you are ready to plate. Stir the harissa paste and olive oil together in a small jug or bowl until well combined.

    For platter plating, spoon the lentils down one side of your serving platter. Spoon the lemon yoghurt dressing over the lentils allowing some lentils to be revealed beneath the yoghurt blanket. Slice the lamb into thin slices and lay on the other side of the serving platter. Place the figs all around and drizzle each half with the harissa. If you had a clean, young fig leaf or 2 in your garden, you could place them beneath the sliced lamb for an added wow factor!