Slow-Roasted Lamb with Sticky Figs

If you’re feeding a gang, nothing beats a slow-roasted joint. Prep it quickly in advance, whack it in a low oven and forget about it until it’s time to eat. 

  • COOK 5 Hours
  • LEVEL average
  • BATCH Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 large leg of lamb (on the bone), about 2.5kg
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Green salad with pomegranate seeds (optional), to serve

For the Paste

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Figs

  • 12–16 ripe fresh figs, scored with a cross
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150˚C/Gas Mark 2. Score the lamb deeply with a sharp knife and place it in a large roasting tin. 
  2. Put all the paste ingredients in a bowl and combine to make spicy, herby garlic butter.
  3. Rub the paste into the lamb, pressing well into the incisions. 
  4. Roast for 4–5 hours, or until the meat is dark golden and sticky (it will depend on the lamb, and even on the season). Baste every so often to keep it moist. 
  5. Remove the lamb from the oven, leaving the oven on, and place on a platter. Cover loosely in foil and leave to rest for up to 30 minutes.
  6. About 10 minutes before the rested lamb is ready to serve, turn the oven up to 200˚C/Gas Mark 6. Place the figs in a small baking tin, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and oil, then season.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just softened and blistered. Meanwhile, remove the excess oil from the lamb roasting tin, leaving the sticky deposits. Place the tin on the hob and pour in the lemon juice.
  8. Stir well over a medium heat to release the caramelised, almost burnt, bits from the bottom of the tin, adding a little water if more liquid is needed (you’re looking for a few tablespoons of reduction, not a gravy). 
  9. Spoon the juices over a green salad and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if liked.
  10. Serve with the torn warm lamb and roasted figs hot from the oven.

Recipe taken from The Midlife Kitchen by Mimi Spencer & Sam Rice (photography by Issy Croker) is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25, octopusbooks.co.uk