Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mutton leg with mint sauce and saffron rice

So this has become one of the classic Eid dishes in our home, although we make it during the year too. I gave it a classic British marinate, but with a slight Lebanese touch. The rice accompanied the mutton leg perfectly - and the mint sauce was just perfect with the meat.

There are a few recipes going on here, but I think each one can be done together to make a delicious dinner.

  • Skill level: Easy
  • Serves: 8+ people
  • Preparation time: 15 mins
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 45mins
What you will need:

For the mutton leg

3 potatoes, sliced
3 onions, peeled and quartered
black pepper
all purpose herb and spice blend (I only used it because i had it, use rosemary instead if you dont have this)

olive oil
1 mutton leg
black pepper
1 bulb garlic, peeled and minced
2 lemon zest
1/2 juice of lemon
fresh thyme
all purpose herb and spice blend (I only used it because i had it, use rosemary instead if you dont have this)
olive oil

For the mint sauce

handful freshly cut mint
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp hot water
3 tbsp cider vinegar

For the saffron rice

1 + 1/2 cup basmati rice
2 + 1/4 cup boiling water
a pinch of saffron
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tbsp salt
1 chicken stock cube
2 tbsp vegetable oil
handful of almond/cashews
handful of raisins

How to make:

1) Start with the mutton leg, as this is what will take the longest to cook. Prepare the vegetables into a foiled oven tray, so that you can place it on the rack below the mutton leg to absorb all the juices. Place the potatoes and onions onto the foiled tray and season with salt, pepper and all purpose herb blend. Place a good amount of olive oil, and mix it all in

2) Now prepare your mutton leg by making slits in it, where you can place the marinate to create extra pockets of flavour. Sprinkle a good amount of salt and black pepper over the leg and rub it in over both sides

3) Prepare the marinate by adding the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, all purpose herb blend, and a good amount of olive oil. Mix together. Rub the marinate all over the mutton leg, and especially place the marinate in the slits you have made

4) Place the vegetable tray in the oven under an oven shelf with a rack. Place the mutton leg directly on the oven rack in a hot oven at 200 degrees Celsuis. The time for cooking will vary according to how well done you like your meat, for me, 1 hour and 45 mins was perfect. Once it is done, place foil over the leg and turn off the heat, and let it rest for a further 15 mins

5) In the meantime, prepare the mint sauce by adding all the ingredients under 'for the mint sauce' into a blender. Blend together, taste to adjust sugar/vinegar levels, then set aside ready for use

6) To prepare the rice, place the rice in a bowl and run under water until the water from the rice becomes clear. Put aside to soak

7) Use one cup of boiling water from the total of 2 + 1/4, add the saffron to the cup and set aside 

8) In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for around 5 mins. Add the sugar to help caramelise further, then leave for a further 4-5 mins or until golden brown. Add the salt and mix well. Add the chicken stock cube, followed by the drained rice, the soaked saffron water, and the further 1 + 1/4 cup boiling water. Mix gently. Allow the rice to come to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and leave to cook for 10 mins. Once done, check the rice by using a fork to fluff it up. If the rice is done, turn off the heat, place kitchen paper or a towel over the pot, cover and leave for a further 5 mins before serving

9) To decorate the rice, you can heat the vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the almonds/cashews or any nut you like, and keep mixing till a light golden colour. Remove onto kitchen paper to soak off the excess oil. Add the raisins into the same pan and cook until nice and plump, remove and soak off on kitchen paper. Once ready to serve, use this to decorate the rice

Up close and personal :)
Mint sauce 
Dinner plate

The mutton leg with its amazing marinate, accompanied by the sharpness of the mint sauce, and the delicious flavour of the rice makes this dish absolutely perfect! Enjoy!

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