Monday, 3 November 2014


Ever since Yotam Ottolenghi made an appearance on the Australian Food Channel, it sparked interest in Middle Eastern cuisine.  Shop owners recorded a significant increase in sales of spices such as Za'atar and Sumak and you can eat eggs Shakshuka which are now on almost every coffee shop breakfast list and bookings to restaurants that cook this tasty cuisine is sometimes weeks long.  His books "Jerusalem on a Plate" and "Plenty" have become cooking bibles for many home cooks across the globe.

This recipe is quite simple in its preparation and cooking, it has delicious flavours of the Middle East and will proudly grace any dining table over the coming festive season.  

You need for 8 people:
3 racks of lamb approx (3 ribs per person)
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2- 3 tbs of sumac (Mediterranean spice available in the spice section of a supermarket or a deli shop)
2-3 tbs of dukkah (same as above)

Method (I call it a one pot wonder as I use the roasting dish to both sear and cook the meat)

Remove the meat from the fridge half an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Rub olive oil over one side of the rack, season it with salt and pepper and sprinkle generously with dukkah and sumac and massage it into the meat.  Place the roasting dish on top of the stove on medium heat, splash some olive oil and when it's hot,  quickly sear the meat on both sides to seal in the juices and give the meat a lovely brown colour.
Once the meat is browned on both sides, place the dish  into the pre-heated oven.  I like to use a meat thermometer to make sure that my meat is not overcooked.  As a rough guide, you need between 15 and 20 minutes to get the lamb to medium rare.
Once the meat is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and let it rest in a warm place, I find a microwave oven is a perfect place for it.  Slice the racks into chunks allowing 3 ribs per guest and arrange them on a big serving plate along with roasted vegetables.  I am a strong believer that the food looks great when served on a big plate, it is also easy to share and brings the sense of closeness to people around the table.
The lamp goes beautifully with  Middle Eastern style parsley sauce that adds extra flavour and texture and rather nicely rounds up the whole dish.

Parsley sauce with fresh pomegranate
You need:
Half a bunch of parsley nicely chopped
2-3 garlic gloves grated (add more if you love it or less if not so much)
Pips of half of a pomegranate
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil,
salt and freshly ground black pepper,
½ of tbs of red wine vinegar or lemon juice (whichever you prefer)
1 tsp of pomegranate sauce.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl (apart from the pomegranate pips), mix well and taste it, it should have sharp fresh taste with a hint of sweetness from the pomegranate juice and acidity from the vinegar (or lemon juice).  If you are using a whole bunch of parsley, you should increase the quantity of wet ingredients to maintain sauce consistency.  Once satisfied with the seasoning, mix in the pomegranate pips.
Using a teaspoon, spoon it over each of the lamb portions and serve the left-over sauce on the side.

Serve the Lamb with Roasted Vegetables and a summer salad of Water Melon, Rocket Leaves + Persian Feta


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