This recipe is a doozy but turns out really terrific.
I was leaning towards serving lamb for Egg Wars, and it was John’s idea to build the meal around a similar one we had at Philly-based Israeli restaurant Zahav. There, we had braised lamb, pita and a ton of vegetarian mezze sides to go with it. I miraculously actually found their lamb recipe online, and made up some veggie sides to pair with it, based on my vague memory of what we had.
Now, this recipe is time consuming and kind of epic. I will say that my brine wasn’t quite as intense as the one mentioned (I didn’t have enough of the ingredients), but beyond that I stuck to this recipe and its 80 zillion steps. The picture below doesn’t do it justice. I substituted lamb leg for lamb shoulder without issue.
Vegetarian sides included hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, Moroccan carrots and beet and sumac salad (some recipes to follow). I also grilled asparagus and served some dill white beans as full side dishes.
1 leg of lamb (mine was 7-8 pounds)
Water to submerge lamb as well as you can (the bone of mine was sticking out a little)
1.5 cups kosher salt
0.5 cups sugar
about 1/3 cup allspice berries
fronds from 1 head of fennel
generous amount black peppercorns
1/2 bunch parsley
1 quart pomegranate juice
about 1 quart dried chickpeas
chopped mint and parsley (I forgot to add this at the end)
pita and couscous, for serving
Steep lamb in brine made up of water, salt, sugar, allspice, parsley, sage and peppercorns. Marinate for 48 hours, turning over once to make sure all of lamb gets brined.
Soak chickpeas overnight and drain.
Remove from brine and pat dry. Preheat gas grill (recipe recommends charcoal but I was being lazy. Ish).
Sear lamb 45 minutes per side.
Preheat oven to 350.
Add lamb to big roasting pan along with pomegranate juice and chickpeas. Add water so lamb is almost covered (my pot wasn’t big enough to submerge it). Wrap in two layers foil.
Braise lamb for 5 hours.
Remove foil and allow to cool in liquid for 1 hour.
Remove lamb from pan. Put juice on heat and reduce until thick. Set aside. Stir in mint and parsley if you remember. Preheat oven to 450
Pour 1 cup juice over lamb. Put lamb back in 5-10 minutes and allow to caramelize.
Serve lamb with chickpea sauce, pita and couscous.