Harissa Spiced Lamb with Olives, Apricots and Lemons

by Mugnaini on April 16, 2013 in Meat

Serves 8-10
Roasting Oven Environment


  • One 6 pound semi-boneless leg of lamb (aitch-bone removed)
  • 4 cloves of garlic cut into small wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt plus more for sauce
  • 1/4 cup harissa
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 13 cups of water (divided)
  • 1 preserved lemon, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup oil-cured olives
  • 12 ounces dried apricots, halved
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces


The night before, poke small slits all over the lamb with a small paring knife, inserting a piece of garlic in each one. Season the meat all over with the salt and then rub with the harissa. Place on a rack fat side and refrigerate, covered overnight.

Remove the lamb 2 hours before roasting. Place the lamb and rack in a roasting pan top with the time and tent with foil. Pour 3 cups of water into the pan and place in oven.

Roast the lamb for 2 hours. Every 20 minutes rotate the pan from front to back and check to make sure you have about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan. If not add more water as it cooks. It is very important that the water doesn’t completely evaporate and burn the bottom of the pan. The liquid in the roasting pan is going to become the sauce for the lamb.

After 2 hours, transfer the lamb to a platter. Remove the rack from the pan, set aside. Add the lemon, olives, apricots and return the lamb to the pan. Replace the tent, spreading it out to cover more of the pan. Make sure you have at least 2 cups of water in with the other ingredients.

Roast for 30-40 more minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, stirring and checking the water level. When the lamb registers 130-135, in the thickest part of the leg, it is done.

Remove to a carving board, tent with foil and allow to stand for 30-40 minutes.

Just before carving return the roasting pan (with the olives etc.) to the oven to reheat. Bring up to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, taste for salt. Whisk in the butter and transfer sauce to a bowl.

Place sliced lamb on a platter and top with the sauce.

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