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Shawarma-spiced roast lamb leg with beetroot sauce

For an exotic twist on the traditional lamb roast, our Shawarma-spiced leg with beetroot sauce adds an authentic share dish for the whole table.

By Emma Knowles
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 40 mins cooking plus marinating, cooling, resting
Shawarma-spiced roast lamb leg with beetroot sauce
Shawarma-spiced roast lamb leg with beetroot sauce

This is a true roll-up-your-sleeves dish. Carve off some lamb and wrap it in flatbread with plenty of beetroot sauce and parsley salad - it's all about getting stuck in. A simple side of braised lentils would round this off nicely.

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 preserved lemon quarters, rinsed, flesh discarded, rind coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp baharat (see note)
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper (see note)
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 1 lamb leg (about 1.7kg), bone in
  • Warmed flatbread, to serve
Beetroot yoghurt sauce
  • 2 beetroot, stalks trimmed
  • 200 gm Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp hulled tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (see note)
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
Parsley and onion salad
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup torn mint
  • 1 cup torn flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup torn coriander
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Method

Main
  • 1
    For beetroot-yoghurt sauce, preheat oven to 200C. Wrap each beetroot in foil and roast until a knife inserts without resistance (40-45 minutes). Cool, then peel beetroot and coarsely chop. Process in a food processor with remaining ingredients until very smooth, season to taste and refrigerate until required.
  • 2
    Pound garlic and 2 tsp sea salt with a mortar and pestle to a paste, add preserved lemon rind, baharat, Aleppo pepper and sumac and pound to a paste (you can also do this in a small food processor). Stir in oil and season to taste. Slash lamb leg at 3cm-4cm intervals, rub spice paste all over and into incisions, cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 1-1½ hours or overnight in the refrigerator (bring lamb to room temperature before cooking).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180C. Place lamb in a roasting pan and roast, basting occasionally with pan juices, until cooked to your liking (1 hour 45 minutes to 1 hour 55 minutes for medium-rare, and internal temperature reaches 54C-58C on a meat thermometer). Cover with foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • 4
    For parsley and onion salad, bring vinegar and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan, add onion, remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to pickle. Drain, reserving a little liquid. Just before serving, add herbs, drizzle with oil, lemon juice and a little pickling liquid, season to taste and toss to combine. Serve salad with roast lamb, beetroot sauce and warmed flatbread.

Notes

Baharat, meaning seeds and flowers, is a Middle Eastern spice blend. It’s available from herbies.com.au or Middle Eastern delicatessens. Aleppo pepper is a hot dried Turkish chilli, available from Turkish grocers. If it’s unavailable, substitute roasted chilli flakes.
Drink Suggestion: Juicy gamay. Drink suggestion by Max Allen