Today I’m sharing braised leg of lamb with spicy onion sauce.
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.
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.
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 SauceA deliciously tender Syrian-spiced lamb
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours
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
- Preheat the oven to 500 f (260 c)
- Make about 15 slits all over the lamb with a paring knife, deep enough for the garlic to sit later.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with rice.
- 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.