Moroccan Butterflied Leg of Lamb

North Africans use pungent spice blends to their best advantage, often toasting the dried seeds to release their aromas and then combining them with flavorful ingredients such as orange zest and garlic. Having lived in Sonoma County, CA for a number of years I always sourced some of the best spring lamb available. Many years ago while visiting Morocco I was introduced to a local chef that was willing to share with me the spices that he used. The spices perfume the lamb while it cooks gently over indirect heat on a grill. A great companion would be couscous with golden raisins.


For the Paste:


To make the Spice Paste:

  1. In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the coriander seeds, pepper corn, and cloves, shaking the pan occasionally until the spices start to smoke after about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a mortar, food processor or coffee grinder and grind. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the garlic, orange zest, salt and olive oil.
  2. Spread the leg of lamb flat. Trim the excess fat and sinew from the inside and out. With the fat side facing down, use a sharp knife making several horizontal slits at a 45-degree angle into the thickest parts of the lamb, until the meat is of even thickness. With a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan, pound the lamb to an even thickness of about 1½ inches. Evenly rub the spice paste over both sides of the lamb. Wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 – 8 hours.
  3. Start grill to medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Grill the lamb, fat side down first, directly over medium heat, turning once. The lamb will take 15-20 minutes to reach medium-rare.
  5. Remove the lamb from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before carving. Slice the meat on a slight diagonal across the grain. Serve warm.

Serves: 6-8

Wine Pairing

Esser® Vineyards  Pinot Noir or Merlot

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