April 12, 2023

Lola’s Leg of Lamb Shawarma with Tomato Jam

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Recipe Provided By
Executive Chef Liam Spence
Servings

12

Marinated American lamb chops with rosemary & garlic on a plate

Ingredients

  • 8 pound American Lamb leg roast, boned, silver skin removed
  • 1/2 cup dried Greek oregano (preferably on-the-stem)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 (about 1 cup) lemons, juiced, divided
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 

Tomato Jam:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper 

Shawarma Sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano (preferably on-the-stem)
  • Salt, as desired 

Shawarma Seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon madras curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt 
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 pita breads
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise into thin ribbons

Directions

In a medium bowl, add oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup oil.  Using a sharp knife, score the inside of the roast on a diagonal in 1-inch intervals.  Turn roast over; score fat cap.  Rub herb mixture over both sides of lamp; pour lemon-oil over roast.  Tie roast with butcher’s twine; place in large baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. 

Whisk remaining 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup oil together; set aside.  Place roast on a roasting rack lightly coated with nonstick spray.  Roast at 325ºF until temperature reaches 130ºF, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours; baste every 30 minutes with lemon juice-oil mixture.  Remove from oven; tent loosely with aluminum foil.  Let rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.  (Roast can also be cooled completely before slicing.) 

Prepare Tomato Jam and Shawarma Sauce while lamb roasts. 

For Tomato Jam:  In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions; cook until translucent, stirring often, about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and cayenne; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until mixture is thick and tomatoes are concentrated into a jam texture, 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring often.  Remove from heat; set aside to cool to room temperature.  Transfer jam to an airtight container; refrigerate until serving.  (Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.) 

For Shawarma Sauce:  In a large bowl, add yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and salt; stir to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until serving.  (Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.) 

For Shawarma Seasoning:  In a large skillet, add cumin, coriander and fennel; toast over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the seeds start to crackle, are fragrant, and wisps of smoke rise from the pan, about 3 minutes.  Transfer spices to a large plate; cool.  In a spice grinder or coffee mill, grind spices into a fine powder.  Turn the mixture out into a medium bowl; stir in paprika, turmeric, curry, cayenne, allspice and salt.  

In a large bowl, add sliced lamb; toss with 6 tablespoons spice mixture to evenly coat.  (Store remaining spice blend in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months.) 

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add one-third of the seasoned lamb; cook until lamb is warmed through.  Transfer lamb to a large platter.  Repeat twice with remaining oil and lamb. 

Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions.  Place the pita bread on 2 rimmed baking sheets; place in oven and warm at 300ºF.  Remove from oven; spread Tomato Jam inside each pita, or if pita is very thin spread Tomato Jam on top.  Divide the lamb between the pitas; top with shredded letters and a few tablespoons of Shawarma Sauce.  Serve hot.

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Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.
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