|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 72g||93%|
|Saturated Fat 31g||156%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||4%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Mechoui is traditionally prepared by roasting a whole lamb either on a spit over a fire or in a pit in the ground. The meat is eaten by hand with salt and cumin for dipping.
As most home ovens can't accommodate a whole lamb, this mechoui recipe calls for slowly roasting a leg of lamb or shoulder in the oven until the meat is tender enough to pull off the bone.
Slow roasting with a very low temperature can take up to nine hours, depending on the thickness of the cut, but you'll find the long cooking time well worth the wait as the meat will be so buttery tender that it can easily be pulled from the bone by hand.
If such a long, slow roast won't work with your schedule, directions for shorter roasting methods are included. All three methods can be used to roast a half lamb or very small whole lamb if your oven can accommodate those larger roasts.
1 whole leg of lamb (bone-in or shoulder)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, for dipping
Cumin, for dipping
Prepare the Lamb
Gather the ingredients.
Trim excess fat from leg of lamb or shoulder, and make a dozen or more deep cuts into meat with tip of a sharp knife.
Combine butter with garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, saffron, turmeric, and olive oil. Spread mixture over entire leg or shoulder of lamb, working some butter into incisions made with knife.
Place lamb in a roasting pan, and proceed with one of the roasting methods below.
Very Slow-Roasting Method: 7 1/2 to 9 Hours
This is the preferred Marrakesh method. You can reduce the cooking time to 4 to 5 hours by using a 350 F/180 C oven temperature.
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Place lamb in a roasting pan and cover with foil, sealing edges tightly. Roast lamb, basting hourly and resealing foil each time, for 7 to 8 hours, or until juices run clear and meat is tender enough to pinch off the bone.
Small pieces of lamb, weighing less than 4 pounds might finish cooking in 6 hours. Larger pieces might take closer to 9 hours.
Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 475 F. Brown lamb, basting frequently, for 15 to 30 minutes, or until meat is well-colored.
Transfer lamb to a platter and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, pour juices over and around lamb. Serve dishes of salt and cumin on the side for dipping.
Traditional Roasting Method: 3 to 4 Hours
When short on time, this method also works well, but the meat won't be quite as tender as the above method. The lamb will, however, have more of a crisp crust, which some Moroccans find desirable.
Heat oven to 475 F. Add 1/2 cup of water to pan, and roast lamb, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 F and continue roasting lamb, basting occasionally, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender, juices run clear, and lamb has a dark, crisp crust.
Transfer lamb to a platter and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, juices can be poured over and around lamb. Serve dishes of salt and cumin on the side for dipping.
Fast Roasting Method: 1 to 2 Hours
Preheat oven to 475 F. Wrap exposed lower leg of the lamb in foil to prevent burning. Add 1/2 cup of water and a few tablespoons of olive oil to pan, and roast lamb, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours, basting frequently, until lamb is well browned and juices run clear when a knife is inserted deep into meat.
If meat has browned before juices are clear, cover meat with loose foil to prevent further darkening.
Transfer lamb to a platter and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. If desired, juices can be poured over and around lamb. Serve dishes of salt and cumin on the side for dipping.
How to Serve the Mechoui
Plan to serve mechoui for a special family dinner or when entertaining. For a colorful presentation, garnish platter with an assortment of salads or roasted or grilled vegetables.
You also can make mini brochettes by threading cubes of cured meat, cheese, and olives on toothpicks and inserting them into roast as a garnish.