Braised Leg of Lamb with Spicy (or Sweet) Onion Sauce

Today I’m sharing braised leg of lamb with spicy onion sauce.

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It’s no secret that Syrians love lamb. It is by far the most-used animal protein in the region. This recipe involves taking a Syrian-spiced butterflied piece of lamb leg, browning it at a high temperature, then braising it low and slow in the oven with garlic and onions until it’s nice and tender.

The onions are then transferred to a blender with some of the pan juices, apple cider vinegar and red pepper paste (which I talked about here), resulting in a sauce that is seriously CRACK. I want to make this lamb again just so I can have that sauce. It’s such a delicious flavor. You can serve the lamb with rice or potatoes, but I especially love how rice soaks up all of the extra sauce.

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The spiciness of the sauce really depends on the spiciness of your pepper paste. When I made this, the store only had a paste that was quite spicy, which gave the sweet onions a nice kick. Feel free to substitute sweet pepper paste here.

The butterflied lamb should be a whole (small) lamb leg, deboned yet left in one piece with all of the fat cleaned off.

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If you give this recipe a try, don’t forget to put it in the comments and to tag me @omayahatassi and #omayahcooks on Instagram. I can’t wait until you taste this one!

 

Braised Leg of Lamb with Spicy (or Sweet) Onion Sauce

A deliciously tender Syrian-spiced lamb

Serves: 4Name of image (title of post is fine)  
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours  

Ingredients:

    1 whole lamb leg, butterfield and cleaned of all the fat (about 3 pounds)
    1 Tbsp plain yogurt
    1.5 tsp Arabic 7 spices or all spice
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    15-20 garlic cloves

    5 medium onions, sliced
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 c apple cider vinegar
    1 Tbsp spicy or sweet pepper paste
    1/2 c chopped parsley for garnish
 
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 f (260 c)
  2. Make about 15 slits all over the lamb with a paring knife, deep enough for the garlic to sit later.
  3. Spread the yogurt all over the lamb then season with the 7 spices, salt and pepper. Place in a deep roasting pan and scatter the onions around the meat.
  4. Roast the lamb until it's brown on boths sides, about 20 minutes each side. Remove from the oven and insert the garlic in the pierced meat, reserving 3 cloves.
  5. Transfer the meat, onions and the braising liquid to a Dutch oven and add the apple cider vinegar. Toss the garlic in with the onions and add the cinnamon stick. Lower the temperature to 300 f (150 c), cover the Dutch oven and place back in the oven and braise until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours.
  6. Once the meat is tender, remove from the oven and transfer the onions, 3 garlic cloves and 1-2 c of the braising liquid to a blender (being mindful not to overfill your blender). Add the spoon of pepper paste and blend until a smooth sauce forms. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the meat to a deep or shallow serving platter, depending on if you choose to serve the sauce on the side or in the same platter.
  8. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with rice.
  9. Lamb can be browned a day ahead of time. Meat and sauce can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead. Reserve in the Dutch oven and reheat over low on the stove with the sauce if serving together or separately.