A roast of any kind always makes a great table centrepiece, whether it is dressed to impress or straight out of the oven without a care in the world.
This lamb is part of the menu for an Eid party I’m catering for this coming weekend. The clients are long standing ones and twice a year, regular as clockwork, I can expect them knocking on my door to discuss the next Persian dinner and menu.
This is going to be the first time I’m making this lamb for them, I do like to provide them with something different each party, although they do have particular requests. For eg, Morasa Polow (Persian Jewelled Rice) always makes an appearance as does some sort of kebabs.
So what makes this Persian Roast Lamb so special?
In one word (erm, 2 really) – Pomegranate Molasses.
Pomegranate Molasses is a heavenly ingredient that is a cross between a mild honey and balsamic vinegar, that’s the closest comparison I can give you! However, go on ahead to the page on Pomegranate Molasses to read more about it.
The pomegranate adds depth with all its touches of tart, sweet, caramel coming into play and heightened by the other ingredients that we have, like saffron, lemon, turmeric, pepper, cumin and some honey. Sounding good to you?
There is no need to marinate the lamb at all if you don’t have time but if you do, leave it in the marinade for a couple of hours, even overnight, if you are that organised! We cut some slashes into the meat to allow the marinade to penetrate through and get soaked up by the meat fibres for a better all round flavour.
Do you often do Sunday lunch with the family and is that lunch quite often a roast? Give these flavours a try and let me know what you think. If you absolutely cannot get pomegranate molasses, and desperately want to use this recipe, get some juice with no nonsense added, place it on the hob for 20 – 30 minutes to reduce and use it. Or go the whole distance and click here for my make at home pomegranate molasses recipe.
How to serve our Persian Roast Lamb?
I always serve it with Persian dishes or other Middle Eastern ones and even North African ones. Having said that, it makes a wonderful main dish on Christmas Day, if you fancy a change from the usual Turkey.
Some ideas to serve our Persian Roast Lamb (you’ll find more on the Middle Eastern page):
And finish it all off with:
And any one of the following hot drinks:
Cooking this Persian Roast Lamb
Liquid Saffron is an indispensable kitchen ingredient in the Persian kitchen, but perfect for all cuisines – this is liquid gold!
When you only soak the saffron in water (as called for in most cuisines), you are not utilising everything that this potent ingredient has to offer. You get the aroma, the flavour and the colour but the very substance of the saffron, to me, remains elusive when you leave it whole.
To get liquid saffron, we crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar first, with just a tiny pinch of salt or sugar to aid the grinding, then we soak it in about 2 Tbsp of hot water (or more, depending on the recipe)
Adding the stock to our roast allows for a delicious sauce to accompany the lamb and whatever you’re serving it with. I find lamb stock overpowering, so always go for chicken when I’m cooking with lamb. That is a matter of choice, and you can always just use water but the result won’t be as potent.
With certain dishes, I can be a bit of a traditionalist. So, I’m sticking with just onions in this recipe. You could go the usual way by adding some carrots and celery if you like.
One Pot Dish
Turn this into a one pot dish by adding vegetables as mentioned above and par boiled potatoes in the last hour of cooking time.
Let’s get cooking our classy Persian Roast Lamb!
♥ Do you like this recipe? Please give it a 5-star rating below! And when you make it, share it on Instagram or any other social medium and tag me @azlinbloor. Merci! … Lin ♥
Images from LinsFoodies
Persian Roast Lamb
- 1 leg or shoulder of lamb weighing about 1.5-2kg (3.3-4.4lb)
- 1 large onion sliced or chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken or vegetable stock or water
- 5 cloves garlic finely chopped or crushed
- 4 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp EV olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp liquid saffron (made with a pinch of saffron + 2 Tbsp hot water)
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 strip of fresh rosemary leaves only and either pounded or finely chopped
- Preheat the the oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
- Taking a small, sharp knife, make half a dozen slashes straight down into the lamb, especially around the thicker parts.
- Mix the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the lamb, pushing down into the cuts and into the meat folds.
- Line your chosen baking dish with the chopped or sliced onions.
- Sit the lamb on the onions.
- Pour your chosen stock or water in, making sure to pour it on the onions and not the lamb.
- Cover with a foil and roast for 1 hour by which time your lamb will be almost done.
- Take the cover off and roast for another 30-60 minutes, depending on how well done you like your meat. 30 minutes will give you meat still bordering on the pink, a little like the images here. 60 minutes will give you well done.
- When the lamb is done, you’ll have a delicious bit of sauce/gravy that you can serve separately. Just get rid of excessive fat from it first, if you like, but I don’t bother. Leave to rest for 20 minutes, covered, in a warm place. Serve as suggested above.