Roast Lamb with Sweet Spices

Ingredients

  • 3 best ends of lamb, chined
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp crushed brown mustard seeds or yellow mustard flour
  • 1–2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cloves

Method

Trim most of the fat off the lamb joints. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice over the meat, rubbing it well into the fat. Mix the crushed and ground spices, and sprinkle over the lamb. Split the cinnamon sticks into slivers ½-1 in / 1–2.5 cm long, and insert into the fat and between the flesh and rib bones of the lamb. Stud the cloves diagonally across the back fat of each joint. Place on a rack in a roasting tin, and roast in a preheated oven at 200°C / 400°F / Mark 6 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and keep the meat warm for 15 minutes to rest it – to allow the juices to fall back into the meat for a uniform pinkness when carved.

Variation

Use a 3–4 lb / 1.35–1.80 kg leg or loin of lamb, and roast it for about 1¼ hours.

Instead of spicing the lamb, simply season it lightly and rub with olive oil before roasting. Serve with mint sauce, made by pounding 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh mint, a little black pepper, a few celery seeds and fennel seeds and a pinch of dried oregano together in a mortar, putting this in a pan with 3 tablespoons each of good red wine and cider vinegar, a tablespoon of plum jam and a tablespoon of olive oil, and bringing to the boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, strain and serve.