Deconstructed Lamb Biryani
Today's recipe is AMAZING FLAVOR TO THE MAX and with the August Navroze celebrations just around the corner this dish makes the perfect meal to serve a small or big group. I've served this up several times and it never fails to impress.
The real beauty of this recipe is that you do not have to slave over a hot stove and the result is full-flavored, fall of the bone lamb! Served with my easy, fragrant and colorful saffron rice, some freshly chopped mint, chilli and coriander and some cooling yogurt or raita, you have a meal fit for a king, no really I am not joking!
I use a rice cooker to cook my saffron rice but you could use the same recipe and simply cook it, covered with a lid, on your stove-top too. I have to admit, some of the ingredients, mainly the soy sauce, are obviously not traditional biryani ingredients (you can check out my delicious and more traditional Chicken Byriani Recipe here) but it does create a beautiful depth of flavor to the end result of this dish.
Please try to marinate/baste the meat every hour in the cooking juices as it is cooking, all you need to do is brush or even spoon the liquid over the meat - it really infuses the flavor into the meat.
Allow your meat to rest for 15-20 minutes once cooked, just keep it covered once cooked with the foil and let it sit for a while on your counter. Resting the meat means that when you finally slice this delight, the meat will remain juicy and moist. Last but not least, once you slice the meat place it right back into the remaining juices, so that the meat grabs all that amazing flavor.
The cooking of your lamb may vary depending on your oven temperature and size of your lamb, a general rule of thumb is 30 minutes per 500g |17 ounces.
This lamb can also be served with roast potatoes and veggies as the flavor of the lamb works equally well with western-type menu or slice the meat, pop some into a wrap, pitta, naan or Lebanese bread with cheese, sour-cream/Greek yogurt, cheese and salad for a home-made kebab - the options are happily endless!
To save on washing up, use a foil-lined tray inside your baking tray for cooking the lamb - it saves a lot of time afterwards
YOU WILL NEED
2.5-3kg leg of lamb
Salt and pepper to season
2 large onions finely sliced
4 garlic cloves finely sliced/chopped/minced
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons oil (I used Rice Bran oil)
1 large sprig of fresh curry leaves (separated and ready to sprinkle on)
3 rounded teaspoons ground coriander
2 rounded teaspoons ground cumin
1+1/2 cups tomato passata
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh mint finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander finely chopped
1-2 chillies chopped (optional)
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup milk
Water (for cooking your rice)
A good pinch of saffron strands (at least 15-20 strands)
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
8 black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods lightly broken
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inch piece broken into small pieces)
2 bay leaves (broken roughly to release their flavor)
To make the lamb leg
Preheat the oven to 220°C/420°F.
Place the whole leg of lamb into a large baking dish. Generously season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced onions, sliced garlic, chilli powder and fenugreek seeds, ensuring that you get some of the ingredients, on the meat itself - don't worry too much about this though.
Drizzle with the oil and cook for 20 minutes or until the onions look golden,
Add the curry leaves, ground coriander and cumin, passata, soy sauce, vinegar and stock. Cover with baking paper and then foil and reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Cook for 4 + 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Every hour generously baste the meat with the liquid in the baking. dish. If you feel certain parts are getting too dark, cover with foil and continue cooking. Allow to rest, for 10-15 minutes and slice before serving.
Serve with Saffron Rice, freshly chopped herbs and yogurt/raita.
To make the Saffron rice
Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Add rice to your rice cooker, add the milk and continue to cover rice with water until you reach the '"two cup” line marker in your rice cooker.
Add the saffron and butter/ghee to your rice.
In a small tea infuser, or a small clean piece of cloth (muslin is best) add the cloves, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and seal your infuser/tie up your cloth so that the contents inside are secure. Place the infuser/handkerchief directly into the rice cooker along with the rice and water mix.
Allow to soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes turn your rice cooker onto the “cook” feature and cook the rice. (Remove the infuser/handkerchief, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf before serving. Serve with your roasted lamb, chopped herbs, yogurt/raita.