Belly Dancer’s Baked Lamb

by Betty Bee


THERE is nothing fast about this dish, it needs time. The day before you  prepare the stock, letting it simmer and bubble on the hob for an hour and a half before leaving it overnight so the flavours can develop. Then you will need to carefully wrap the lamb in a tea towel and bake it for five hours in a sealed pot so that none of the flavours are lost. However be assured that all good things do come to those who wait.

Serves 6 to 8
For the stock
3 carrots
2 leeks
1/2 a fennel bulb
2 celery sticks
2 shallots
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
10 peppercorns
5 coriander seeds
300 ml dry white wine
3 liters water

For the lamb
1 leg of lamb approximately 2.5 kilos
1 head of garlic
500 g of tomatoes
2 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 clean cotton tea towel

For the dough to seal the pot
200 g flour
150 ml water

The day before prepare the stock. Peel and slice the carrots, wash and trim the leeks and slice the fennel. Slice the celery, peel and chop the shallots and place all the prepared vegetables in a large pan. Add the cinnamon so ticks, star anise, cumin, coriander and pepper. Cover with the water and wine. Bring the pan to the boil, turn down the heat and allow it to simmer gently for an hour and a half. Allow to cool and then place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees centigrade or gas mark 4. Separate the cloves of garlic but do not peel them. Quarter the tomatoes. In a large pan heat the sunflower oil over a high heat. Place the leg of lamb in the pan and brown it on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat. Use the clean towel to wrap up the leg of lamb. Place the lamb in a large casserole dish with the garlic and tomatoes.

Place the stock in a large pan and bring to the boil, remove from the heat, strain and use to cover the lamb. Cover the casserole dish with a lid.

Place the flour in a clean bowl, gradually add the water until to have formed a stiff dough.  Roll the dough into a long sausage and use it to help seal the lid of the casserole dish. Place the casserole dish in the oven and cook for five hours.! Take the dish from the oven, break the crust and remove the lamb. Reduce the liquid in the casserole dish until you have around 300 ml and then strain it, reserving the garlic cloves. Unwrap the lamb and place on a warmed serving dish with the garlic cloves and sauce. Serve with a spoon….yes the meat will be that soft and succulent.