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Arabian Roast Lamb Fit for a King and Queen, With Spiced Rice

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“This is a mouthwatering recipe for Arabian roast lamb and spiced rice, and it is truly fit for a King and Queen! Roast leg or shoulder of lamb which is cooked a la cuillère (to such tenderness that you can cut it "with a spoon" ), accompanied by rice with ground meat and nuts, is a traditional and central part of any Arabian feast. This recipe which I have slightly adapted, is from Claudia Roden's book "Arabesque". She says that she got the recipe from famed caterer Nazira Bitar, who prepared a banquet in Stockholm that was hosted by the King of Jordan for King Gustav and Queen Silvia.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. Wash and trim the lamb of any excess fat, and pat dry with a clean cloth.
  2. Rub the leg of lamb all over with the spices, salt, pepper, and oil. Place it in a large roasting pan and put it into the preheated oven. After 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven, pour in 4 1/4 cups water, and add the onion and garlic. Cover the meat with a large sheet of foil and put it back in the oven. Lower the heat to 300F degrees, and cook for 3 hours.
  3. While the meat is cooking, prepare the rice. Wash the rice in cold water, rinse in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water, and drain. In a large pan, fry the onion in 2 tablespoons oil until it is soft and beginning to color. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring, turning it over and crushing it with a fork to break up any lumps, until it has changed color. Add salt and pepper and all the spices: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir well and add the rice, then stir again.
  4. Pour in the boiling stock, mix well, and simmer, covered, for about 10 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender. Add a little stock or water if it becomes too dry. Drain (if necessary) and keep it on the side until you are ready to serve.
  5. Fry the almonds, pistachios, and pine nuts separately in the remaining oil until they just begin to color. When the leg of lamb is ready, place it on a serving dish with the rice. You can cut the meat off the bone into slices, if you wish. Sprinkle the fried nuts all over the rice. Serve the flavorsome meat broth produced at the bottom of the roasting pan as a sauce. Heat it through and serve it in a jug, first pouring off as much of the fat from the top as you can.

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