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Jerusalem Lamb Shawarma


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  • 2 t. black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 t. cardamom pods
  • 1 t. fennel seeds
  • 1/4 t. fenugreek seeds
  • 1 T. cumin seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 T. grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 1 T. sweet paprika
  • 1 T. dried sumac
  • 3/4 T. Kosher salt
  • 1 3" piece ginger, peeped and grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3/4 C. chopped cilantro, stems and leaves included
  • 4 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. peanut oil
  • 1 leg of lamb, on the bone, about 5-6.5 lbs



Step 1

Step 1:

Put the peppercorna, cloves, cardamom, fenugreek, fennel, cumin, star anise, and cinnamon in a cast iron pan set over medium-high heat and dry roast them for a minute or two, until the spices begin to pop and release their aromas. Take care not to burn them. Add the nutmeg, ground ginger, and paprika, and toss for a few more seconds, just to heat them, then transfer to a spice grinder. Process the spices into a powder. Transfer to a medium bowl, and stir in the sumac, salt, fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and oil, and stir to combine.

Step 2:

Use a small sharp knife to score the leg of lamb in a few places, making half inch deep slits through the fat and meat.Place the lamb in a large roasting pan and rub the marinade all over it, using your hands to massage the meat. Turn the lamb fat side up, cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it aside on a countertop for at least a few hours, or preferably rest it overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 3:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the aluminum foil, and place the lamb in the oven. Roast for approximately 4 1/2 hours, or until the meat is completely tender. After 30 minutes of roasting, add about a cup of boiling water to the pan, and use this liquid to baste the meat every hour or so. (Add more water as needed making sure there is always a little in the bottom of the pan). After 90 minutes or so, cover the lamb with aluminum foil to prevent the spices from burning. Once the lamb is done, remove it from the oven, and let it rest 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.


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