This recipe came from Scott Savokinas, of Cuisine Inspirations, who helped me brainstorm ideas for how to use all this wonderful cinnamon I received and his creativity helped make this process quite fun.
Savokinas wrote to me, “Many people associate cinnamon with a sweet note. Th[is] recipe utilizes cinnamon in a savory blend of Moroccan spices, combined with lamb… Even though the amount of cinnamon called for in each recipe is small, it really adds a punch. I recently served [it] at a small wedding and the flavor was incredible! Even if you don’t like lamb, this recipe is a must-try!”
I happen to love lamb but in my house that puts me in the minority. However, in my experience, many spice rubs are versatile enough to use with several different types of protein, so I had always planned to make this with a pork roast of some kind. On one of the cooler, rainy days this week, I made this recipe using a pork tenderloin and served it with mashed potatoes on the side. It gave us all a little taste of the fall that is yet to come, but not so much that we’re ready to end summer.
Moroccan Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh mint
4 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper.
1 5 to 7 lb boneless leg of lamb tied (Ask your butcher for help with this)
1. Combine the first 11 ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
2. Remove lamb from refrigerator.
3. Coat lamb thoroughly with puree and let sit at room temperature, covered with foil, for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 450º.
5. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and place on a rack positioned in the lower third of the oven.
6. Roast for 20 minutes.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350º.
8. Roast until a meat thermometer placed into the thickest part of the lamb registers 135º to 145º, depending on how well you want the meat cooked. *Total roasting time will be between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1½ hours, but it would be a good idea to begin taking the temperature at 1 hour, and every 10 minutes after (or use a probe thermometer set to 130º).
9. Allow the lamb to rest, tented with foil, for 15 to 25 minutes before carving.
Notes from my experience:
The spice rub is really easy to make (I love anything that only requires blending in the food processor) and takes no time to prepare.
I used the dual temperature cooking method, but adjusted it for the tenderloins. I cooked them both at 450 for 15 minutes, then 375 for 25 minutes and tented with foil at the end.
The flavor was delicious and a welcome change from my typical spice rubs for grilling. I served it with a Raspberry Balsamic sauce from Cuisine at Home. The flavors complimented each other fabulously.
This is definitely a company-worthy meal and I may even try the spice rub on lamb chops for myself. Enjoy!
*Savokinas lives in northern NJ and has worked closely with Verona resident and chef Cardie Mortimer. His company, Cuisine Inspirations, LLC is an in-home event services company providing dinner parties, cooking lessons, knife sharpening, and most recently a personal chef service.
This series was inspired by the gift of a large amount of cinnamon my mother-in-law brought me from Ecuador. It includes recipes from Verona chefs and chefs with Verona connections. You can follow this series and all of my cooking adventures on Twitter: @TracyCooksIt