a leg lamb, about 2.3kg
for the spice rub:
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp sea salt flakes
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 pinch sweet paprika
2 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
a thick slice of butter
Set the oven at 160C/gas mark 3.
Make the spice rub: peel the garlic cloves, then lightly crush them with the salt using a pestle and mortar. Mix in the cumin, paprika and thyme. Gradually add the oil so that you end up with a thickish paste. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir it into the spice paste.
Put the lamb into a deep-sided casserole and rub it all over with the spice paste, then put in the oven and leave for 35 minutes.
Pour in 250ml of water. Baste the lamb with the liquid, then continue roasting for a further three hours, basting the meat every hour. If the juices are evaporating rapidly, then add a little more water.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour off the thin top layer of oil from the cooking juices, leaving the cloudy, herbal sediment in place. Cover the pan with a lid and set aside for 10 minutes or so.
Carve the lamb, serving with the mashed chickpeas below, spooning the pan juices over both.
3 x 400g cans of chickpeas
a small onion
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Drain the chickpeas and put them into a pan of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. You are doing this to warm the chickpeas rather than cook them any further.
Peel and finely slice the onion, then let it soften with the olive oil over a moderate heat.
Let the onion colour a little.
Drain the chickpeas, then either mash them with a potato masher or, better I think, in a food processor.
Mix in the olive oil from the onions to give a smooth and luxurious puree.
Stir in the onion, season with a pinch of hot paprika, salt and black pepper, and serve with the roast lamb above.