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Butterflied and marinated leg of lamb, parsley and cous cous salad, and harissa

Henry Harris

Henry Harris - Harcourt Inns

Butterflied and marinated leg of lamb, parsley and cous cous salad, and harissa

It’s never too late in the year to barbecue. I’ve yet to cook Christmas lunch on mine but New Year’s Eve dinners at home have often seen the barbecue fired up.

In the Eastern end of the Mediterranean lamb cooked over wood and charcoal is a natural part of life. The effect that the smoky heat has on marinated and spiced lamb gives a finished result of char, sweetness and spice that takes some beating. I’ve been a complete fan for years. My good friend JB, who wins gold for being the most generous of people and host too, is a champion when it comes to lamb legs on the barbecue and he has served me many a leg in this or a similar fashion.

  

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 tsp whole fennel seeds

1.5 tsp seas salt flakes

Zest of 1 lemons

1 chilli, seeds discarded and chopped or minced

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 small bunch of fresh thyme, finely chopped

25 ml olive oil

1 1kg plus leg of lamb, butterflied by your butcher

 

 

Put the four spices into a dry pan and toast over a good heat for a couple of minutes to toast them.

If you get a faint whiff of smoke then remove them immediately and grind them coarsely in a spice mill or pestle and mortar.

Blend these spices with the sea salt, lemon zest, chillies, garlic, thyme and olive oil.

On a large tray, rub this mixture into the lamb leg on both sides and then wrap well in cling film and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

Remove from the fridge the next day 2 hours before you want to start cooking.

 

500 g packet of cous cous

100 ml extra virgin olive oil and more for dressing

2 cucumbers

4 bunches flat parsley, picked

1 large bunt fresh mint, picked

3 red onions, finely chopped

Zest of orange

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 3 lemons

 

 

Cook the cous cous according to the instructions on the packet. Transfer to a shallow bowl and mix in the olive oil and leave to cool.

Peel and seed the cucumber then cut into a small neat dice. Toss in 1 teaspoonful of salt and leave for thirty minutes. Drain and rinse the cucumber well to remove the saltiness.

Chop all the parsley and mint and add to the cous cous bowl along with the onion and citrus fruit zests.

Mix well and check the seasoning.

When you are about to serve, add the lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil and mix well before serving straight away.

 

The harissa yoghurt

I give a recipe for a kilo of yoghurt here as it seems that whenever I serve it at home it all is consumed. You can get away with half this amount but if you go full on and have leftovers it is a useful condiment to have for the next couple of days after the lamb is finished.

There are a number of specialist harissas of excellent quality but for this condiment I prefer the traditional brands that you tend to find in Middle Eastern grocers, usually in a predominantly yellow tin or tube.

 

1 kg Greek yoghurt (full fat)

2 tsp harissa

1 tsp sea salt flakes.

Mix altogether and if you prefer more of a kick add more harissa and perhaps a little more salt.