January 2013 recipe: Moroccan breast of lamb

On a recent trip to Morocco we came across some fantastic spices which I enjoy playing with. Ras al hanout was a particular favourite which simply means ‘top of the shop’ or the best the place has, you could play around with your own spice mix but here is an idea I took from Bruce Poole at Chez Bruce and changed a few things.
Breast of lamb often comes with the small rib bones still attached, these are quite easy to remove yourself but if you prefer ask your butcher to do it and he will also tie it up for you, otherwise tie it up yourself and sometimes I add some rosemary or some chopped apricots as a sort of stuffing other wise its just seasoned and rolled up, and tied.


  • 1 breast of lamb usually around 900g
  • 4 onions peeled and finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped/li>
  • 100g sultanas
  • 3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • stick cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon harissa powder
  • teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoon tomato puree
  • can tinned tomatoes
  • 100g chopped prunes
  • zest of lemon


  1. Take a large casserole or heavy based pan with a lid and place over high heat.
  2. When very hot add a little oil and season the lamb and brown all over in the hot pan. It will take up to 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the oven to gas 4 (180 C).
  4. Set the meat aside and then lower the heat under the pan and add the onions, cook over a medium heat to soften and colour lightly, add the garlic, lower heat and cook for 10 minutes to take on some more colour.
  5. Add the sultanas and spices and fry over a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring well.
  6. Add the tomatoes and prunes, and stir to really mix in. Place the rolled lamb in the middle and add water to just about cover, bring to the boil and cover, cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  7. When cooked the meat should be easily pierced with a knife, remove the meat and set aside to cool slightly, if it still a little firm cook for another half hour or so.

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