Roast lamb is a very popular dish in the Middle East, and as you can imagine there are countless ways to make it.
In the West meat is often cooked to a certain temperature based on preference.
Rare, medium rare etc up to well done which is seen as a travesty in fine dining.
And this is true for meat that is cooked to well done quickly.
Meat in the Middle East is always cooked well done.
People here are not big fans of blood in their meat.
But the key to making meat taste good when well done is to cook it long and slow at the right temperature.
This environment produces a wonderful piece of meat that is full of flavor and falling off the bone.
Think short ribs.
There is a traditional method used by the Bedouins to cook their meat and that method is called Zarb.
This way of cooking requires one to dig a hole that is a couple of feet deep.
A fire is built in the hole and allowed to burn out leaving only embers.
At this point the meat is wrapped tightly in foil and places on the embers.
The dirt from the hole is used to cover up the meat and it is allowed to cook overnight or for 24 hours.
The result is the tastiest, most tender, and moist meat you have ever tasted!
This in my opinion is the best way to make roast lamb!
I’m certainly not one of those who likes my meat to still be alive on my plate but I do like the flavor of a well cooked steak.
The way it just melts in your mouth is other worldly.
When I was recently in Japan I had a barbeque, where I was given several cuts of meat that I cooked on a little burner at my table.
I am always amazed at how full of flavor that meat is.
More than beef in this part of the world lamb is the main event.
Even though beef is making inroads given its cheaper price.
Traditionally it has been sheep that have been the staple when it came to meat.
Another thing you see a lot of, especially in the more rural areas and the Jordan valley, are shepherds with their flocks.
Often crossing streets and slowing traffic.
Sometimes you see several generations as the skills get passed down.
Or a solitary shepherd who looks way too young to be out on his own with such a responsibility!
The lamb in this part of the world tends to have a mild taste compared to other places where it can be gamier and stronger.
I do prefer the milder taste.
And with garlic and spices you can create a dish dripping with flavor.
The thing to remember with this roast lamb is long, low, and slow creates the best outcome.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Make slits in the leg of lamb.
- Put garlic in the slits of the joint.
- Mix all other spices and rub into the leg of lamb.
- Wrap in foil and place in a baking dish.
- Cook at 400°F (200°C) for 1 hour.
- Lower heat to 200°F (93°C) and cook for a further 3 hours.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Nutrition Per Serving