Roast leg of lamb with rice and pistachio stuffing

Sophie Michells Lebanese lamb has a jewel-like stuffing of dried fruit and nuts and is served with lightly spiced aubergine and yogurt sauce
By Sophie Michell
Roast leg of lamb with rice and pistachio stuffing
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 30 mins resting for the lamb
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 200 g long grain rice
  • splashes olive oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 100 g mixed vine fruits or mixed golden and brown sultanas
  • 75 g whole blanched almonds
  • 75 g pistachio nuts
  • small handful flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 kg leg of lamb, tunnel-boned by the butcher with the small end bone attached

For the cumin and tomato aubergine

  • a few glugs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 aubergines, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 x 400g cans tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 200 ml stock
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the yogurt sauce

  • 400 ml Greek yogurt
  • small bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • squeeze of lemons

To serve

  • flat-leaf parsley or coriander, chopped

Method

1. Cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling water, according to packet instructions. Drain and leave to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, add the butter and fry the onion and garlic until translucent (about 8 minutes).

3. Add the ground coriander, dried fruits and nuts. Continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

4. If there is string around the lamb, remove it and season the inside and out with salt. Using a spoon, pack as much of the rice stuffing in as possible and put the lamb on a roasting dish. Any excess rice mixture can be put in a separate baking tray, covered with foil and cooked for 10 minutes to serve another time, or with the lamb.

5. Place the lamb in the oven and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover in foil and leave in a warm place to rest for 30 minutes.

6. For the aubergine: while the lamb is cooking, prepare the aubergine. Heat a large frying pan and a large saucepan and add a good glug of oil to both. Fry the onion and garlic in the saucepan until translucent and fry the aubergine in batches in the frying pan.

7. Once the aubergine is cooked, add it to the onion mixture. Stir in the cumin, tomatoes, chilli flakes and stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then simmer for 40 minutes.

8. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, parsley, more seasoning and another glug of olive oil.

9. For the yogurt sauce: blend all the ingredients together in a food processor.

10. Serve slices of the lamb with the aubergine and a bowl of the yogurt sauce on the side.

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