This is an excellent and easy dinner party dish, which Catherine Hill wrote about in The Telegraph back in July this year. What makes it an excellent choice for entertaining is that it can all be pre-prepared and popped in the oven, leaving you to enjoy a glass of wine with your guests.
Ingredients (to serve 4-5)
For the lamb
2kg leg of lamb
2 cloves garlic
100g dried apricots, finely chopped
2 preserved lemons, finely chopped (these can be bought in Middle Eastern Delis and Waitrose or a large Sainsbury/Tesco/similar, if they have a Middle Eastern section)
1 tbsp olive oil
For the chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 tbsp rose harissa paste (I use the Belazu one which you can get in any big supermarket, since it isn’t too hot – if you like spice though, you could always use more than 2 tbsp)
2 x 400g (14oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cinnamon stick
250ml (9fl oz) chicken stock
500g (1lb 2oz) cherry tomatoes on the vine
6 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Couscous (cooked in stock – either veggie or chicken)
Butter to melt into couscous
Roasted tomatoes on the vine
Warm courgette and Aubergine salad
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
Set the lamb on a chopping board and slash the flesh all over, about 2cm (¾in) deep, in a criss-cross pattern. Combine the garlic, apricots, preserved lemons and oil and rub all over the lamb, working the marinade into the meat.
Heat the oil for the chickpeas in a large roasting tin that will sit on a hob. Add the onion and garlic and cook for five minutes. Add the ginger and harissa and cook for a further couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the chickpeas, cinnamon and chicken boil. Turn off the heat.
Set the lamb on top of the chickpeas and roast in the oven for 2¼ hours, or 30 minutes per 450g (1lb), basting every now and then and stirring the chickpeas.
Thirty minutes before the end of cooking time, lay the tomatoes – still on their vine – on top of the chickpeas and return to the oven. Allow the lamb to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Stir the coriander into the chickpeas and serve with thick slices of lamb and some hot, buttery couscous.
As an extra note, this was also DELICIOUS cold the next day – I had it for lunch.