Raan

Leg of lamb marinated for 48 hours in spices and yogurt, then cooked for over 5 hours in the oven, Raan (rahn), is a fabulous Indian dish. Serve it as part of an Indian meal with naan or Chapatti. The lamb will be so tender that no carving will be required – the meat will come away with a spoon.

1 X 6 TO 7 lb. leg of lamb, trimmed of fat

4 oz. fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

12 large garlic cloves, peeled thinly pared rind of

1 lemon

5 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons cumin seed seeds of

6 cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoons hot chilli powder

1 tablespoon salt

5 oz. unblanched almonds

4 tablespoons soft brown sugar

10 fl. oz.

½ cups yogurt

2 teaspoon saffron threads soaked in

2 tablespoons boiling water

Prick the leg of lamb all over with a fork. With a sharp kitchen knife, make several deep gashes in the flesh. Place the lamb in a large deep roasting tin. Set aside.

Place the ginger, garlic, lemon rind and juice, cumin seed, cardamom seeds, cloves, turmeric, chilli powder and salt in an electric blender. Blend at high speed until the ingredients are pureed. Scrape the puree out of the jar with a spatula and spread it all over the meat. Set aside for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put the almonds, 2 table-spoons of the sugar and half the yogurt into the blender. Blend at high speed until the mixture becomes a thick puree.

Scrape the puree into a small bowl and stir in the remaining yogurt. Spread the mixture all over the lamb, on top of the spice puree. Cover the tin and place it in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220 °C).

Remove the roasting tin from the refrigerator and allow the meat to warm to room temperature. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the meat.

Place the tin in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C) and cook for 1 hour. Reduce the temperature to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C), cover the tin and cook, basting occasionally, for 4 hours.

Remove the tin from the oven. Using a large flat spoon and a fork, very carefully lift out the meat and place it on a large piece of aluminium foil. Cover the meat completely and return it to the oven.

Using a metal spoon or bulb baster, remove and discard any excess fat from the tin. Stir in the saffron mixture.

Place the roasting tin over moderately high heat and boil the sauce rapidly for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is reduced by half. Remove the tin from the heat.

Remove the lamb from the oven and remove and discard the foil. Place the meat on a warmed serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve.

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