Chargrilled Lamb Leg Three Ways

A beautiful recipe from the Ducksoup Cookbook for succulent chargrilled lamb leg, with three Middle-Eastern inspired serving suggestions: Labneh, Broad Beans & Za’atar, Labneh & Poached Apricots or Labneh & Pomegranate.

From the book

Ducksoup Cookbook: The Wisdom of Simple Cooking by
Ducksoup Cookbook: The Wisdom of Simple Cooking
Beautiful recipes from London's Soho restaurant, Ducksoup
A cookbook celebrating the art of simple cooking
Pared back dishes with a focus on flavour

Introduction

There is a stunning vineyard in the Bekaa Valley on the road from Damascus to Aleppo called Chateau Massaya that also has a restaurant situated amongst the vines. You arrive early and watch as lunch builds: fires are lit, bowls of mouth-watering tomatoes, beans, salads, labneh and breads appear. Soups are warmed over the fire and pots bubble away. Guests ebb and flow towards the table and the flames as they slowly satiate themselves throughout the afternoon. It’s one of the most peaceful places I have visited. And it was here that I first properly discovered labneh. They paired it with charcoaled meats and gently roasted vegetables and poached fruits. This dish is inspired by that visit; here we have given three of our favourite ways with lamb and labneh.

The charring gives an added dimension of flavour to the meat, so if you can char it and then finish it in the oven then that is the ideal. Alternatively cook it on a barbecue.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the Chargrilled Lamb Leg
2–2.5kg lamb leg, boned and butterflied (ask your butcher)
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Chargrilled Lamb Leg, Labneh, Broad Beans & Za’atar:
1 quantity chargrilled lamb leg (see above)
2kg broad beans in the pod
4 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp dried wild oregano
Extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
200g labneh
Salt
For the Chargrilled Lamb Leg, Labneh & Poached Apricots:
1 quantity chargrilled lamb leg (see above)
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 fresh apricots, stone in
Few thyme leaves
200g labneh
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt
1 quantity chargrilled lamb leg (see above)
1 large pomegranate
200g labneh
Small handful of mint leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Essential kit

You will need: a large chargrill pan.

Instructions

To make the chargrilled lamb leg: 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

Heat a large chargrill pan (big enough to hold your lamb) until it is smoking.

Rub the oil into the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Place in the chargrill pan, and cook for 5 minutes on one side. You may need to turn the heat down a tad as there will be a lot of smoke.

Turn the lamb over and cook for 5 minutes on the other side.

Then, using a pair of tongs, turn the meat on to its side and cook the edges for 3 minutes each side.

The lamb should now have lovely griddle marks on and a good smoky flavour to it. If you’re cooking this in summer you can also get the same effect on the barbecue.

Once all the sides of your meat are sealed, transfer to a large roasting tray and roast in the oven for 16 –18 minutes for a medium lamb leg and a bit longer for a larger leg. You want the meat blushing with a pink colour as opposed to being rare. To check if your meat is cooked, after about 16 – 18 minutes give it a gentle prod with your finger on the largest part. It should have a little bounce to it but should still feel a little firm. If there is little resistance then it’s undercooked so give it another 3– 4 minutes.

When the meat is cooked remove from the oven and let it rest for around 15 minutes, covered loosely with foil. This is important as it gives the meat a chance to relax and get the juices flowing, and it means the meat will stay moist when you come round to slicing it.

When you come to carve the meat, rather than cutting directly across, slice the meat at about a 30-degree angle, which makes slightly triangular chunks, creating more texture to the meat.

Follow one of the three serving suggestions below.

1. Chargrilled Lamb Leg, Labneh, Broad Beans & Za’atar:

While the lamb is resting, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil while you pod the broad beans. Cook the beans for just 1 minute then drain and refresh in cold water. If your broad beans are on the large side it’s best to skin them otherwise they can be a little bitter and chewy. Simply pinch off their tops and squeeze the bean from the skin.

To make the za’atar, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for 3–4 minutes, giving them a toss as you go, until the seeds go a golden brown. Add to a bowl with the sumac, dried oregano and a good pinch of salt and mix together. Set aside.

Gently warm a good glug of the oil in a frying pan and add the broad beans, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Warm through for 2–3 minutes.

To serve, lay the lamb pieces out on a platter, randomly and so that they don’t cover the whole plate (you want to see white space).

Spoon the labneh in and around the lamb and scatter over your broad beans, pouring over the lemony oil you have cooked them in. Finish by sprinkling over the za’atar. You can also serve on individual plates if you prefer.

2. Chargrilled Lamb Leg, Labneh & Poached Apricots

As soon as you put the lamb into the oven, place an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of oil. Once your oil is hot add the apricots and blister for 5 minutes, shaking the pan to move them around, until the skin starts to blister. Add the thyme leaves, transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 8–10 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked but is still a little firm (they should still hold their shape). Set aside to cool while you carve the lamb as described on above.

Arrange the pieces of lamb randomly over a serving platter (or individual plates). When the apricots are cool enough to handle, tear them open and place them in and around the lamb. Do the same with spoonfuls of the labneh, then squeeze over the lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a little pinch of salt.

3. Chargrilled Lamb Leg, Labneh & Pomegranate

While the lamb is resting, remove the seeds from the pomegranate by cutting it in half and then holding over a bowl, cut side down on your spread palm. Hit the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon or rolling pin so that the seeds drop out into the bowl. If you have trouble try turning the half inside out and gently coaxing the remaining seeds out with your fingers.

Carve the lamb as described above and arrange on a serving platter (or individual plates). Spoon the labneh on and around the lamb and scatter over the pomegranate seeds, along with any juice. Tear and scatter over the mint leaves and finish with a glug of olive oil.

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